STUDENT SHOUT: It's not safe for old people to be behind the wheel

Student Shout is a weekly column by journalism students at Highbury College and here Emma Money-Chappelle gives her view on elderly drivers.

Emma Money-Chappelle gives her views on whether elderly people should be behind the wheel
Emma Money-Chappelle gives her views on whether elderly people should be behind the wheel

Let me begin by explaining that I’m not against all elderly drivers, but there has got to be an official upper age limit to keep everyone safe.

Aside from the fact that people at 70 have to renew their licenses, should they really be getting into a car at that age – or am I being ageist?

In 2013 an 84-year-old woman died after driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway.

I don’t think many younger drivers would make that mistake unless they had severely impaired vision – in which case they shouldn’t be driving anyway.

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    Did you know there are more than 100,000 drivers over the age of 90? Does that make you nervous?

    I once had to attend a speed awareness course for being clocked doing 5mph over the limit.

    I could not believe how many elderly people were on the course. Far more than young drivers.

    Many people will argue that old people should be allowed to drive and say “My grandma has a sharp mind and took her driving test again last year.”

    And of course I realise that whatever age you are, stepping in a car is a risk.

    But it is a bigger risk for older people because they are prone to more serious health conditions than younger people.

    Everyone over 50 should have a medical test to confirm they are healthy enough to drive.

    As much as I respect the older generation, because they have lived much longer and are probably wiser, I don’t believe it is safe for their age group or others driving around them if they aren’t examined properly.

    When renewing their license every three years, after they turn 70, they should be tested for other problems such as heart conditions and strokes. Perhaps there are many great elderly drivers, but are their reflexes still reliable?