Over a quarter of adults say their older relatives should give up driving

Thursday, 20 November 2014
  • 43% also admit they feel unsafe in the car when their older relative is driving
  • New analysis by specialist insurance provider RIAS has revealed three-quarters of adults are nervous about tackling their older relatives about their driving skills
  • Road Safety Week launches on 17th November
  • A National Older Driver Strategy will be published for the first time in 2016
  • To help  older drivers stay fit to drive, RIAS has launched www.drive-fit.co.uk 


As Road Safety Week launches (17th – 23rd November) new analysis from specialist insurance provider RIAS has revealed concerns adults have about their older relatives driving. A staggering 80% believe the driving ability of their elderly relatives has deteriorated over time while over a third (43%) admit they feel unsafe in the car with them.


The study, amongst 750 drivers aged 40 and above revealed concern among 40 – 59 year olds in the driving skills of their parents and older relatives. Almost half (48%) say they have noticed a change in their parents and relatives driving in recent years, with 45% of these having noticed a slower pace of driving and a third (34%) deeming them as less confident, 7% said their relatives no longer drive at night. Over a quarter (26%) of 40 – 59 year olds say they think that their parents or elderly relatives should give up driving completely.


Despite this, the majority of adults (76%) have never confronted them or suggested ways they could alter their driving habits to be safer. For the 24% that did broach the subject, 41% admitted they felt nervous about challenging their driving habits.


The report found that driving to visit family, friends and go shopping becomes increasingly important for the UK’s ageing population.  Whilst 11% of 60 – 69 year olds say they mostly use their car for visiting friends and family, this rises to 15% of those aged over 70. Likewise 19% of drivers aged 60 – 69 primarily use their car for shopping, whilst this rises to 37% of those aged over 70.


Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS commented: “We know that as drivers become older, maintaining their independence and mobility becomes increasingly important. However, it is also more likely that how they drive on the roads could change – they could become slower and less confident.  For those who are close to an older driver, approaching the subject of their driving can be sensitive and our analysis indicates some adults steer clear of having that conversation altogether.  That’s why we’ve published some handy hints to help families begin talking about safe driving into older age through our new drive-fit.co.uk website.” 


To help over older drivers stay fit to drive, RIAS has launched www.drive-fit.co.uk . RIAS also supports the call from the Road Safety Foundation and Ageas for a National Older Driver Strategy for the UK, which is due to be published for the first time in 2016. 


*Research conducted by ICM among a sample of 750 drivers aged 40+ between September 17th – October 6th 2014.

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