Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety for RoSPA, said: “We were very distressed to hear of the incident involving our former President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and two other people, and we are extremely pleased and relieved to hear that everyone involved was not seriously injured.
“In the wake of the incident, we have inevitably heard calls for mandatory testing of people of a certain age. This is a red herring – age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone’s ability to drive. Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents than other age groups.
“If we were to restrict drivers based on any relationship between age and accident rates, we would need to take a fresh look at inexperienced, younger drivers aged 17 to 24. Although this younger age group accounts for just seven per cent of the driving population, they are involved in around 22 per cent of fatal or serious road traffic incidents.
"Experience developed over a lifetime of driving helps them anticipate and cope with hazardous situations. They often choose to use familiar routes and plan their journeys to make use of daylight and avoid congested rush hour traffic. The ability to drive gives people freedom to travel when and where they like. This is particularly valuable to people of all ages who live in rural areas where there is limited public transport. Driving enables visits to family and friends, inspirational tourist attractions and everyday shopping. Taking away someone’s ability to drive can have a major impact on their independence and should be very carefully considered because it could lead to an increase in the rising toll of loneliness and isolation that we are seeing amongst older people in our ageing society.
“However, a balance needs to be struck between encouraging independence and protecting all road users. RoSPA therefore encourages older drivers and their families to be aware of their driving ability and other health conditions that could have an impact, and either speak to their doctor if they are worried, or take an assessment such as RoSPA’s experienced driver assessment, which will provide advice as to how to improve driving. More information can be found at www.olderdrivers.org.uk.”