Elderly drivers may keep their driving licences for longer under DVLA idea

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Elderly drivers may be allowed to keep hold of their driving licences for longer under dramatic new proposals from the DVLA.

The licensing agency is looking into whether they can update rules around driving licences for motorists with medical conditions due to the rise of in-vehicle technology.

Officials stress new tools such as “cruise control” and “active steering” means that medical standards for driving could be “modified”.

They felt the tools would “open driving” to people who had previously been excluded from the roads due to medical concerns.

The DVLA made the admission in a call for evidence consultation report looking into driving licences for those with medical conditions.

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The suggestion is listed under a sub-heading titled “future thinking” towards the end of the document. The report reads: “Vehicle use is for many individuals, especially outside of major cities, integral to the running of their daily lives.

“There have for many years been adaptations made to vehicles that have allowed individuals with disabilities to continue to safely control a vehicle.

“However, we are now in an age where many vehicle manufacturers have started to include various in-vehicle technologies and sensors to aid safe driving.

“These include adaptive cruise control, active steering, anti-lock braking systems and GPS navigation technology.

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“Driver licensing will need to adapt to consider the impact of the in-vehicle technologies already available and whether the medical standards for driving need to be modified, opening driving to groups of individuals who have previously been excluded from licensing due to their health conditions, where it is safe to do so.”

Elderly drivers are more likely to develop medical conditions than any other demographic. The DVLA’s own data shows the bulk of the group’s current casework comes from those between the ages of 60-69 and 70-79.

The consultation has also revealed the DVLA is considering using AI technology to determine whether older drivers should retain their licences.

Road users can have their say on the ideas by getting involved in the consultation until it closes on October 22.

Evidence can be submitted online through the DVLA’s Snap Survey Tool or posted to their headquarters in Swansea.

Richard Holden, Minister for Roads and Local Transport said the Government feels the “time is right to review the existing legal framework” around drivers with medical conditions.

According to the MP, this is partly down to an increase in the “volume and complexity” of applications and renewals.

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