Older drivers keep dying on our roads - should we test them more?

Calls for more testing on elderly drivers after spate of fatal crashes


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A man in his 80s died after a crash on the Western Freeway on February 6. He is one of 14 people aged over 70 to lose their lives on our roads since the new year, a 250 per cent increase. Picture: Alex Ford

A man in his 80s died after a crash on the Western Freeway on February 6. He is one of 14 people aged over 70 to lose their lives on our roads since the new year, a 250 per cent increase. Picture: Alex Ford

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WITH people aged over 60 making up one third of Victoria's out of control road toll, calls are now coming for mandatory drivers licence testing for elderly drivers.

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WITH people aged over 60 making up one third of Victoria's out of control road toll, calls are now coming for mandatory drivers license testing for elderly drivers. 

Since the start of the year, 24 people aged over 60 - 14 of which were over 70 - have been killed on our roads including two men who died in separate crashes at Daisy Hill near Maryborough and Lethbridge on Sunday.

And as police grapple with more senseless waste of life, there are calls for Victoria to follow the lead of New South Wales and introduce license testing for all drivers aged over 75.

Ballarat City Senior Citizens Club president Geoff Pitt said it was incumbent on doctors to know when their patient was becoming a risk of the road.

"Would I support the introduction of mandatory testing? I think that makes a lot of sense for people over 75," he said.

"I'm in a position where I see a lot of drivers, I know of some people who should simply not be on the road, and I know of one man in particular, who at 93, is a wonderful driver. I think a test once every three years would be fair.

"But if you were to suggest to a driver they shouldn't be on the road, they'd tell you where to go and would have every right to do so.

"I'm coming up 70 myself, and I'm fortunate I'm not on any tablets or anything, but who's to say what things will be like in five years.

"A doctor know what condition you are in, they know what tablets they take, they know your eyesight level. It should be up to them to make that decision.

In the weekend's incidents, the driver of a sedan, a man aged in his 70s, died at the scene of the Daisy Hill crash while the driver of a car, a 68-year-old woman, was also killed in the Lethbridge incident.

On February 6, a man in his 80s died in a late night crash along the Western Freeway at Gordon and on January 29, a 76-year-old woman passenger died near Anakie in a car being driven by an 81-year-old who also suffered serious injuries.

Ditchy's view

Ditchy's view

Ballarat Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Ben Young said it meant Ballarat roads had now seen 10 fatal accidents since Christmas 

"We have lost almost one life each week as well as elevated serious injury collisions creating untold community harm," Senior Sergeant Young said.

"We are calling on everyone to recognise that they have a responsibility to road safety, to realise that people are human and they make mistakes, to drive to the conditions and within their and their vehicles limits.

In New South Wales, drivers need to pass a medical test every year after the age of 75 to keep their licence. In Victoria, you can only renew your licence for three years after age 75.

"If you are 75 years of age or older, VicRoads at its discretion, will only grant you a driver licence for a maximum of three years," VicRoads' website says.

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