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by George Skentzos

The RTA have proposed a new set of laws which could see driver’s above the age of 85 limited to driving within a 10km radius of their homes.

For driver’s over the age of 85 they would be required to successfully complete a driving test – similar to the current provisional test – in order to have the distance restrictions lifted. Current laws require annual medical tests from age 80 onward, the new rules would reduce this age to 75. Rural elderly driver’s would be limited to driving within their home town instead of the 10km radius which would not be appropriate.

The statistics show that older driver’s are far more likely to be involved in serious accidents, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas. It also says one in nine people between the ages of 80 and 84 experience some form of dementia.

The unfortunate result of current laws is the crushing blow it has on elderly driver’s, as one of their few remaining freedoms the loss of their driver’s license could be devastating emotionally. The RTA have said that these new laws would provide a progressive structure that would ease older drivers out of driving.

The Combined Superannuants and Pensioners Association policy co-ordinator, Paul Versteege has condemned the plan

“It is an automatic trigger to disqualify people from driving. For most people at 85 who are still driving, [10 kilometres] would not be sufficient, I know people over 85 who regularly take their car and caravan out into the country.”

I for one tend to agree with these new laws, the finger has been pointed at P-plater’s for far too long. The number of times I have personally almost had an incident with an elderly driver at fault is far greater than any P-plate menace I have ever had to deal with.

The idea behind these new laws is not to stop elderly driver’s from driving but instead restrict them to familiar areas which should greatly reduce the number of accidents with an elderly driver behind the wheel.

George Skentzos