Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Elderly driver surrenders licence while up in court for injuring cyclist

77 year old left cyclist in serious condition after collision

An elderly woman told a court in Devon that she felt it was time to surrender her driving licence after injuring a cyclist in a collision.

Irene Alexander, 77, of Brook Meadow in South Molton pleaded guilty to a charge of driving a vehicle without due care and attention at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.

In October, she had hit a female cyclist in Barnstaple, causing her several injuries including broken ribs.

The victim had to remain in hospital for seven days and was signed off from work for six weeks.

Lyndsey Baker, for the prosecution, said: ”The defendant confirmed to the police that she was the driver and said she had looked both ways before she pulled out but had not seen anyone approaching. The driver heard a bang and braked immediately and saw the girl in the road.

"During interview, Mrs Alexander said: 'I thought I had killed her, I never felt so awful in my life. I couldn't stand because I was shaking’,” according to the North Devon Journal.

Alexander asked her son to speak on her behalf to the court.

He said: "My mother deeply regrets what happened and is very sorry for the injuries. She had decided it is time to give up driving and has surrendered her licence. She lives on a state pension and lives on her own.”

Alexander has been disqualified from driving, fined £150 and ordered to pay £70 costs.

According to Cycling UK, although not as risky or at as much risk as younger drivers, drivers who are 70 or over are a higher risk group and more likely to be at fault than middle-aged motorists.

They campaign for the Government to seriously consider introducing formal re-tests for older drivers, saying: “The age at which the first re-test should be taken, and the frequency of subsequent re-tests, should be decided on the basis of evidence (i.e. on when reaction and hazard perception skills typically start declining for older age groups).”

Add new comment

34 comments

Avatar
psling | 6 years ago
0 likes

We stopped our father from driving when he was in his seventies; the payoff was that myself and sisters along with associated partners became his chauffeurs as dotti says. He wasn't aware how much his reactions had slowed or how restricted his movement, especially being able to look over his shoulders, had become. We were happy to drive him and it was never a chore.

 

With regard to younger drivers, one thing that occurrs to me is their inexperience of handling a vehicle with the additional weight of more occupants in it.

Driving with only one passenger during learning and then driving alone after test they will establish a relatively safe speed through bends, hills, etc.. Then they put 3 mates in the back, don't consider the additional load and its effect on handling and drive at the same speed. Anecdotal I know, but an awful lot of single-vehicle fatal accidents in my rural area involving a young driver  have had a car full of occupants. 

Avatar
dottigirl | 6 years ago
4 likes

You have all missed the most important issue:

WHY elderly drivers are still on the road. 

I know/knew several elderly (and not so elderly) people who don't want to drive.  if they didn't drive though, they wouldn't be able to socialise, exercise, feed themselves, etc. Not everyone is on a decent public transport route, can afford taxis, or is within range of a supermarket delivery zone, never mind able to operate the internet safely enough to order.

Added to that, having to afford a vehicle, fuel, insurance, etc, especially if you're on a pension?

Many are aware of their declining health. Many are fearful of causing an accident. Many would love for someone else to drive them around. I started taking my gran places shortly after I passed my test. It got my accident-prone gran off the road and gave me more driving experience. My gran loved having her granddaughter as a chauffeuse, and being able to look around at the scenery rather than strain her eyes on the road. Plus, she didn't have to worry about parking as I dropped her off wherever she wanted to go, and picked her up.

If you know of an elderly person who's still driving, have a think about how you could help them. If you're going to the shops, ask if they want a lift or if they need anything. That kind of thing. 

Provide a viable alternative and you'd be surprised how many would surrender their licences, or at least, drive less often. Simply take the licences and you make them unhappy prisoners in their own homes.

Avatar
bigmoose | 6 years ago
0 likes

Cheers for the helpful replies! Interesting perspectives on the risk factors. 

Avatar
WillRod | 6 years ago
1 like

Part of the reason that they don't do anything towards the elderly is that they vote more than young people. The turnout for my fellow young whippersnappers at the EU referendum was abysmal and could have either swung the vote, or made it a bigger majority. It would be political suicide to do anything to upset the older voters who are the ones that will elect you.

I think that the bus pass should be made available only to those without a driving license. It would incentivise some, and might help reduce the decline of rural bus services that can't afford to keep operating.

Testing for medical fitness after a set age is a good idea, but there are also a few people in their 30's and 40's with dementia and Alzheimer's who are young enough not to fall into any age range that has been suggested,  it are equally capable of causing a fatal car crash.

Avatar
FatBoyW | 6 years ago
0 likes

One point missed is that we all should get lasting power of attorney arranged with our parents well before it is required. Easy and cheap whilst all are willing, difficult to do later and you could be left in the horror situation of a father or mother who has lost some of their faculties being 'befriended' by a Charlton who then removes all their assets.

with an LPA in place that can be invoked all the hassle can be avoided and the dad talked about earlier could have been set up to use taxis a lot earlier and more easily

Avatar
ChairRDRF | 6 years ago
3 likes

 Thanks for sharing Griff500.

 

Part of the problem is that the "road safety" lobby/industry  takes a relaxed view on this issue. See this report

https://rdrf.org.uk/2016/07/04/supporting-safe-driving-into-old-age-a-dr...

where emphasis is on keeing older drivers driving as long as they can, with safety definitely a secondary concern.

Avatar
Stumps | 6 years ago
1 like

Nowadays your taught how to pass a test, not to drive, that can only come with experience. However mandatory re testing is the only way forward and that applies to all, not just the young or the old but everyone.

I've been to enough accidents over the years to know that poor driving does not fall into an age bracket.    

Avatar
ktache | 6 years ago
0 likes

Grif, seeing as you moved back to the youth thing, I shall say yes, the young just get put on their parent's insurance. Often fraudulently, getting their own car, probably brought by their parents who have absolutely no intention of driving it themselves, who then insure it and put the youth on as a named driver.

Superpython, once more you speak the truth and I cannot agree with you more.  1700 utterly pointless deaths, each and every year are 1700 too many.  It may have come down, and it may be lower than others but 1700 dead as a cost of getting about is far, far too many.

Avatar
ktache | 6 years ago
0 likes

Correct Grif, I am very much not looking forward to having that particular conversation with my mother.

Avatar
ktache | 6 years ago
0 likes

Mike, unfortunately experience requires experience to aquire.  Perhaps we should require a year of cycling or moped use before they get into a car, or restrictions on power.  Normally difficulties in getting or the expense of insurance would limit the power of a young drivers first car but even small cars can go very fast, and of course the children of the very well off can get around that one.  The swedish have the A-Tractor, limited to 30kph which can be driven by 16 year olds, and which has developed into a booming car culture.  Maybe that has worked for them.  Bit too Europe for us mind. 

Avatar
Vili Er | 6 years ago
0 likes

I was knocked down several years ago by an elderly lady who'd come round a corner completely on my side of the road. Luckily she missed the guys in front of me by inches (we were single file) but I met her wing mirror very badly and had to have my forearm rebuilt. The Police needed to visit her a second time after taking her initial statement and she had no recollection of their first visit or that she'd knocked me down. Needless to say she was asked to give up her license. The road is part of a popular cycle route and had it been a family instead of an alert bunch of experienced cyclists it could have resulted in something much worse than me missing half a year on the bike. 

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
3 likes

Mike, the young will improve with experience, their attitude is the problem. The old will only get worse, despite any good intentions they may hold as drivers.

Avatar
mike the bike replied to Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Mike, the young will improve with experience, their attitude is the problem. The old will only get worse, despite any good intentions they may hold as drivers.

 

I see. So you recommend we ignore the statistics and concentrate on the easy target.  Mmm.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to mike the bike | 6 years ago
1 like

mike the bike wrote:

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Mike, the young will improve with experience, their attitude is the problem. The old will only get worse, despite any good intentions they may hold as drivers.

 

I see. So you recommend we ignore the statistics and concentrate on the easy target.  Mmm.

It doesn't need to be either / or, why can't we do both? The 2 problems and solutions are unrelated.

With regard to the elderly, you said yourself its an easy target and the solution is easier. Ever heard of low hanging fruit? Nobody wants to drive competent people off the roads after their 70th birthday, but we all know there are old people who shouldn't be on the road.

The problem with the young is a bit more difficult. As Yorkshirewallet said, it's about attitude, and it is easy to behave sensibly during a test, and then drive like a lunatic 10 minutes  later. I don't believe your proposal to raise the driving age to 25 is workable, and I suspect neither do you!  As many accidents caused by the young are speed related, restricting the power, and therefore both top speed and acceleration might be an option. My first car had 45bhp, and in those days the highest performance cars were around 100bhp (yes, I'm showing my age). Nowadays it is hard to find a car less than 100 and 150 is the average. Is it really necessary that every car on the road can travel at 120mph plus, when the speed limit is 70? With engines now being software programmable, a restriction to say 60bhp (or better still, do it by power to weight ratio) up to the age of 25 would be doable.

Avatar
DrG82 replied to Griff500 | 6 years ago
0 likes

I think you're overestimating the power and speeds of vehicles and certainly overestimating the power of a vehicle a new driver would sensibly be able to insure.
Eg. a Ford focus 1.6 petrol (one of the most popular cars on the road) will give you just about 100 bhp and a max speed of about 110.

And insurance for a new driver on such a car would be about £2.5-3 k.

The power and max speed of a vehicle doesn't really translate into the damage you can do with it.

If you look at the circumstances around many big crashes involving young drivers the recurring thing is that they all have cars full of young friends and they often happen at night. maybe banning new drivers from carrying multiple young passengers a driving after a set time. Also, young people don't understand drink driving/personal limitations so a virtual zero alcohol limit could be useful.

Regarding the point in question, oap drivers, the government won't introduce a re-test because old gits get out and vote and in particular they are more likely to vote conservative (which is why we have the pension triple lock) , so they're not going to do anything that could annoy them. And all the kids say they don't vote because it gets them nowhere.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to DrG82 | 6 years ago
0 likes

DrG82 wrote:

I think you're overestimating the power and speeds of vehicles and certainly overestimating the power of a vehicle a new driver would sensibly be able to insure.

Not really, no. I'm just recalling all my son's friends rolling up at our house when he was in 6th year, in their father's company X5s. Dwarfing my own son's 1.2 Clio sitting in the driveway.

Avatar
DrG82 replied to Griff500 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Griff500 wrote:

DrG82 wrote:

I think you're overestimating the power and speeds of vehicles and certainly overestimating the power of a vehicle a new driver would sensibly be able to insure.

Not really, no. I'm just recalling all my son's friends rolling up at our house when he was in 6th year, in their father's company X5s. Dwarfing my own son's 1.2 Clio sitting in the driveway.

 

X5s!  Do you live in the stockbroker belt? I think you're seing the exception rather than the norm there and I'm massively surprised that any company would let a 17-18yr old drive a company insured vehicle. I know people with businesses who can't insure their own staff on company vans if they are under 25 y/o with 3 years driving experience.

Most people will be more likely to be driving 1 litre corsas and fiestas as first cars.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to DrG82 | 6 years ago
1 like

DrG82 wrote:

Griff500 wrote:

DrG82 wrote:

I think you're overestimating the power and speeds of vehicles and certainly overestimating the power of a vehicle a new driver would sensibly be able to insure.

Not really, no. I'm just recalling all my son's friends rolling up at our house when he was in 6th year, in their father's company X5s. Dwarfing my own son's 1.2 Clio sitting in the driveway.

 

X5s!  Do you live in the stockbroker belt? I think you're seing the exception rather than the norm there and I'm massively surprised that any company would let a 17-18yr old drive a company insured vehicle. I know people with businesses who can't insure their own staff on company vans if they are under 25 y/o with 3 years driving experience.

Most people will be more likely to be driving 1 litre corsas and fiestas as first cars.

Not unless Edinburgh falls within the stockbroker belt. Admittedly these were all kids at one of Edinburgh's private schools. 

Avatar
Sniffer replied to DrG82 | 6 years ago
1 like

DrG82 wrote:

Griff500 wrote:

DrG82 wrote:

I think you're overestimating the power and speeds of vehicles and certainly overestimating the power of a vehicle a new driver would sensibly be able to insure.

Not really, no. I'm just recalling all my son's friends rolling up at our house when he was in 6th year, in their father's company X5s. Dwarfing my own son's 1.2 Clio sitting in the driveway.

 

X5s!  Do you live in the stockbroker belt? I think you're seing the exception rather than the norm there and I'm massively surprised that any company would let a 17-18yr old drive a company insured vehicle. I know people with businesses who can't insure their own staff on company vans if they are under 25 y/o with 3 years driving experience.

Most people will be more likely to be driving 1 litre corsas and fiestas as first cars.

Many company car schemes do allow young drivers.  I was a member of one until recently that would have allowed a 17 year old to drive a powerful car with only the excess being problematic.

I would have felt uncomfortable if that had still been an option when my son turns 17 next year.

With parents still driving in their seventies and a teenage son, I expect I am going to experience both those worrries.

As the grey vote is much more powerful than the youth one, I suspect that any focus will not be on baby boomers driving.

 

 

 

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet replied to mike the bike | 6 years ago
0 likes
mike the bike wrote:

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Mike, the young will improve with experience, their attitude is the problem. The old will only get worse, despite any good intentions they may hold as drivers.

 

I see. So you recommend we ignore the statistics and concentrate on the easy target.  Mmm.

The young can be reached easier and persuaded, the old are locked off from change initiatives and frankly, seem stubborn from my experience of my parents and their friends.

The young will have seen their last driving assessment within a few years of starting to drive. When was the last time an 80 year old had a serious look at their skills. As I said they will get more and more dangerous. Going slower and slower isn't a solution.

I got banned for dangerous driving about 15 years ago and actually failed my retest at first go. I dread to think just how badly those 80 and over would fail if I could fail in what was probably my mental and physical prime. They probably wouldn't even get 5 minutes in.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

Yorkshire wallet wrote:

The young can be reached easier and persuaded,

There we disagree. Young men of today can no more be persuaded to slow down than I could when I passed my test 40 years ago!  Since then we have introduced more complex tests, a theory test, lower points thresholds for inexperienced drivers, but we still have a problem.

That said, the thread has been hijacked. Tho OP was about the  problem of old people. The young? Different problem, different solution, different topic.

Avatar
mike the bike | 6 years ago
1 like

 

Whilst I agree that everyone reaches an age when their faculties begin to dim we are in danger of ignoring the evidence here.  Working on the basis that society should mitigate the greatest risk first, which seems eminently sensible, it is the conduct of young drivers that should receive immediate scrutiny. For it is the more youthful who have a hugely disproportionate number of collisions, whilst the elderly cause only about half as many as their numbers might suggest.  And 'old' accidents are much cheaper as the speeds involved are lower. 

Perhaps when the high risk category has been successfully dealt with it will be time to sort out the lesser problems?  Maybe we could start by raising the age for a driving licence to 25 with a mandatory re-test after the first year on the road?

 

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
2 likes

Fair play to Griff, wish more people were like you. Seems the law is an ass though as far as this sort of thing.

Avatar
bigmoose | 6 years ago
1 like

Like oceandweller and Griff500, I'm in favour of re-testing and of revoking the licences of drivers who are unfit to drive. A colleague of mine was killed by a driver who was unfit to drive and knew of his medical condition yet persisted in getting behind the wheel of a killing machine. 

One thing I struggle to get my head around though - younger drivers will have been tested relatively recently yet they're the highest-risk group for causing crashes. Why? 

I passed my driving test about 20 years ago and would be happy to be re-tested at regular intervals. If I think of my professional qualifications, at the very least I need to demonstrate continued learning each year to remain certified (and nobody's going to die as a result of any misjudgement there). With driving, no-one asks. 

Avatar
Gourmet Shot replied to bigmoose | 6 years ago
1 like

bigmoose wrote:

One thing I struggle to get my head around though - younger drivers will have been tested relatively recently yet they're the highest-risk group for causing crashes. Why? 

Because when you're young you think you are bullet proof and you dont necessarily think of the consequences of your actions....we've all been there.

 

Avatar
Rapha Nadal replied to Gourmet Shot | 6 years ago
0 likes

Gourmet Shot wrote:

bigmoose wrote:

One thing I struggle to get my head around though - younger drivers will have been tested relatively recently yet they're the highest-risk group for causing crashes. Why? 

Because when you're young you think you are bullet proof and you dont necessarily think of the consequences of your actions....we've all been there.

 

Not really.

It's more to do with experience, or lack of.  Whilst learning, there would always be a driving instructor or parent to point things out, guide on the correct procedures  etc.  However, remove them and put a new driver out there on their own and you remove the "voice of safety", for want of a better description, which means things could get missed, perhaps new driver has forgotten some things, distracted by the radio or friends in the car etc etc.  This, in turn, increases the possibility of a claim being made and the premiums are rated accordingly.  A provisonal licence to full licence change will always generate a premium increase.

On the flipside, premiums will also increase for the older generation as the brain starts slowing down as do reaction times and there's a higher possibility of injury, third party damage, own vehicle damage etc.  As the driver gets older, the premiums will increase accordingly.

Obviously, not all people & drivers are the same and drive the same but the above factors will always influence premiums. 

 

 

Avatar
Griff500 replied to bigmoose | 6 years ago
1 like

bigmoose wrote:

One thing I struggle to get my head around though - younger drivers will have been tested relatively recently yet they're the highest-risk group for causing crashes. Why? 

I've dome some Googling on this. Firstly, you said "causing crashes" cancel that thought. Most of the car insurance companies and motoring organisations publish stats on this, and the consensus comes back to the very point made by Python. According to their analysis of the stats, the biggest cause of young driver crashes is hazard awareness. Yes that's right, its not alcohol, its not directly distraction by friends in the back, its that due to limited experience they fail to anticipate, recognise, and react to hazards, in the available time. Some insurance companies actually refer to the "slower reaction time" of young drivers, but this is not physical reaction time, its about recognising that there is a hazard to react to. Back to your "causing crashes" point, and this is something else the insurance companies pick up on by suggesting that the primary cause of the accident is often elsewhere, but a more experienced driver will anticipate, recognise and respond, quicker.

Avatar
ktache | 6 years ago
7 likes

Grif, Kudos to you, that must of created some intense family tension, and cannot have led to easy Crimbo dinners.

Of course, it's not just about keeping your own loved one alive and healthy, but also all of the others on our roads.  I salute you sir.

Avatar
tao24 | 6 years ago
0 likes

I'm suprised that the doctors can't be persuaded to send him for a driver's medical assessment, which aren't mandatory, but can suggest whether someone is fit to drive.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to tao24 | 6 years ago
2 likes

tao24 wrote:

I'm suprised that the doctors can't be persuaded to send him for a driver's medical assessment, which aren't mandatory, but can suggest whether someone is fit to drive.

That is precisely what the tickbox form is. It is the form which must be supplied provided to DVLA, but it relies on truthful answers by the patient rather than medical examination (apart from eye test). 

However in more general terms, what you are suggesting could, and knowing my father would, be interpreted as breach of doctor patient confidentiality, and the GP certainly didn't appreciate attempted intervention by concerned family members when he had followed all the rules. 

What I found was that DVLA, his GP, and the police, were only interested in the following of procedures, making sure the right forms were completed and covering their own backsides, in the face of 3 family members warning that the man was unfit to drive.

Pages

Latest Comments