Escape from lockdown…but into a curfew for the over 70s?
As the nation braces itself for a much anticipated lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions, the irony cannot be overlooked that the Government is exploring a driver curfew for the over 70s! It was widely reported last weekend that proposals are being discussed for whether the over-70s could be eligible for “graduated driving licences” in the event of there being relevant health conditions.
The most recent government data on accident statistics and older drivers was published in 2018. See Department of Transport: Older Car Drivers Road Safety Factsheet (2016) (Published May 2018). Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/road-safety-factsheets-and-ad-hoc-statistics
The fact sheet is wide ranging but the headlines were as follows:
- Older car drivers have a slightly lower casualty rate given distance travelled compared to all car drivers.In 2016, there were 292 older car driver casualties per billion vehicle miles travelled in England, compared to 306 for all car drivers. In recent years the distance driven by older people in England has risen markedly (by 28%) from 1,593 in 2002 to 2,045 in 2016 miles per person per year.
- Reported road collisions causing personal injury which involved at least one older car driver in GreatBritain, and total casualties from these road collisions, increased by 5% and 7% respectively from 1990 to 2016. However, over the same period, for all car drivers the number of collisions decreased by 48% and casualties by 47%. Older car driver casualties increased by 22% from 4,327 casualties in 1990 to 5,276 casualties in 2016.
- Males make up 67% of older driver fatalities compared to females. However, relative to the distance driven, older female car drivers are more likely to be killed. In 2016 72% of fatal casualties for older car drivers occurred on rural roads; this proportion is slightly lower than for all car drivers (77%).
- The riskiest times for older driver collisions are on weekdays between 4pm and 8pm, and in the early hours on any day between midnight and 4am. However, compared to all drivers, the early hours risk is considerably less.
- Compared to all car drivers, a larger proportion of older car drivers are allocated factors relating to: ‘driver failed to look properly’, ‘driver failed to judge other person’s path or speed’, ‘poor turn or manoeuvre’, ‘loss of control’ and ‘driver illness or disability, mental or physical’.
The thrust of this data suggested a rising proportion of elderly drivers within the population at large (not surprising), but the accident statistics revealed a troubling feature whereby these drivers bucked the trend with a 7% rise in personal injury collisions, as compared to a 48% reduction for all car drivers!
Whilst such proposals may well carry enough electoral baggage to find safe sanctuary in the long grass, if they do see the light of day they could trigger a reduction in serious injury claims. Let’s watch this space!
For more information, please contact Natalie Dawes, Partner inour Complex Injury team.