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Surge in cases involving older drivers for motoring lawyer

 

Article date:  28/02/2014

Higgs & Sons partner Catherine Junor is calling for more support and awareness for older drivers following a surge in the number of cases she is handling.

Catherine says that the number of older drivers she is representing has spiked in the last six months and as people go on driving for longer, she believes numbers will continue to rise.

"80 per cent of 60 to 69 year olds currently hold a valid driving licence," explains Catherine.  "In its recent report, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety stated that there are six million over 70s on the roads today compared with less than one million 35 years ago.

"As the law currently stands each person has to reapply for their driving licence to be renewed when they reach the age of 70 and again every three years after that. The law does not require a driver to undergo any form of test or inspection, either medical or motoring competency, when renewing a driving licence. The law does not prescribe an age at which anyone must stop driving.

"However, you are required by law to inform the DVLA if you have a disability - either physical or medical - which is, or may become, likely to affect your fitness as a driver, unless you do not expect it to last more than three months.

"It is the responsibility of the driver - no matter how old - to inform the DVLA and your insurance company if you have the likes of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's or a dementia leading to a serious problem with memory. Once the DVLA is notified they issue a medical questionnaire which has to be completed before they make an assessment as to whether to withdraw the driving licence." 

Catherine has noticed an increase in elderly drivers facing the loss of their licence having notified DVLA of health issues.  Specialist advice is recommended before making DVLA declarations as to health concerns.

Driving is a lifeline for many people and Catherine works closely with specialist older persons' lawyer Philip Martin-Summers to ensure people remain driving for as long as possible, even after an accident.

Philip said: "People rely upon their ability to drive for many reasons. Taking any decision about ceasing to drive may impact heavily on an elderly person who may feel more cut off and isolated from the outside world."

"We work with many families around care and capacity issues and there are lots of things that can be done to continue to drive safely into old age. These can include your choice of car, adapting the way you drive, changing the times of day that you make your journeys and regular health checks with your GP and optician. All of this can keep you driving safer for longer."

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.

For specialist motoring advice, call Catherine on 0845 111 5050 or email Catherine.junor@higgsandsons.co.uk.

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