It is not uncommon for elderly drivers to be required to undertake driving competence tests after they have been involved in an accident which is deemed to be their fault.

In an important boost for pensioners keen to maintain their motorised independence for as long as possible, a 78-year-old woman who was found to be ‘unsafe’ to drive following an accident has had her licence returned to her by the High Court.

The woman had been involved in an accident with three other vehicles and a tree, and there was evidence that she ‘had not noticed’ a junction over which she drove daily. In a decision which was later confirmed by magistrates, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) decided to revoke her licence on medical grounds.

She had been put through an on-road driving appraisal prior to the decision – during which she was said to have cut in front of a van, forcing it to brake hard – and the DVLA asserted that she was suffering from ‘age-related cognitive impairment’.

In upholding her challenge and restoring her licence, however, the Court noted that there was no evidence that age-related problems made her a danger on the road to herself and others. There could have been other reasons for her lapses during the driving appraisal and her poor performance did not prove that she had a relevant physical or mental disability which rendered her unfit to drive.


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