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Issue:- 20/21January 2009

Older drivers are the safest, says IAM

DRIVERS over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are considerably safer than younger drivers, according to a report published on 18 January 2010 by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research said:- “The report contradicts the common assumption that older drivers are a danger on the roads. Just eight per cent of drivers are over 70 and they are involved in around four per cent of injury crashes. But 15% of drivers are in their teens and 20s and they are involved in 34% of injury crashes.”

Older people rely heavily on their cars, and the ability to drive gives many older people better mobility and access to more activities. Men in their seventies make more trips as car drivers than men in their late teens and 20s.

Mr Greig added:- “The IAM recommends that, rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we need to make them aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them cope with these risks.”

Greg Lewis of Age Concern/Help the Aged said:- “We believe that where drivers wish to continue behind the wheel beyond the age of 70, only convincing reasons should prevent them from doing so.”

Mr Lewis added:- “An elderly person’s risk of being killed or suffering a serious injury as a result of a road crash is between two and five times greater than that of a younger person because of their increased physical frailty.”

Other key findings:-

► In the next 20 years the number of male drivers over 70 will double, female drivers will treble.

► Drivers over 70 are safer on bends and overtaking than 50 year olds, but are more at risk at roundabouts, junctions and slip roads on high speed roads.

► In some traffic situations, older drivers are less likely to be in a crash because they tend to adopt a more careful and restrained driving style.

► No particular age was identified where there is sudden increase in crash involvement.

► Older drivers self regulate and take fewer trips on motorways, in poor light or wet weather, or at peak times.

► Drivers over 85 are four times more likely to have caused a crash than to have been an innocent victim of one.

► Crashes in which older women are to blame peak about five years earlier than those for older men.

“The IAM strongly believes that there is no case for compulsory retesting of older drivers at an arbitrary age. More research is needed on the best age to renew driving licences and there needs to be a wider debate on the introduction of restricted licensing.”
said Mr Greig.

Please do read this .pdf file we have been sent to us by the IAM, by clicking on
here.  The file makes interesting background reading to this quite controversial subject.

MEPs take a scalp

A prospective European Commissioner has stood down in the face of a barrage of criticism from MEPs.  Bulgarian Commissioner-Designate for humanitarian aid, Rumiana Jeleva, has withdrawn her nomination for the post.  Last week she faced 3 hours of questioning about her role and abilities at a confirmation hearing in the European Parliament, a process that has to be undergone by all 27 of the newly nominated Commissioners seeking a 5 year term.  MEPs are said to have been dismissive of her performance, with some describing it as wholly inadequate and demanding to know why she had been nominated by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria.  It was alleged by some that her family had links with organised crime syndicates in that country.  The European Parliament has the power to dismiss the European Commission and the issue of Jeleva's nomination was threatening to turn into a trial of strength.  North West Euro-MP Chris Davies has warmly welcomed the news.

MEP Chris Davies told us that:- "I have personally been involved in the questioning of four prospective Commissioners and they all emerged from the ordeal with flying colours. They left me with every confidence in their abilities and judgement. But the European Commission is a powerful body and if nominees fail to meet the standards we require then MEPs must refuse to accept them. The personal support of a Prime Minister is not enough."  Davies said that although the European Union is sometimes described as "undemocratic" no government minister ever had to face the level of inquisition experienced by new Commissioners.  "This is one instance when the Westminster parliament has lessons to learn from its European sister." Chris Davies said.


THE Dogs Trust Merseyside is desperately looking for a home for its longest serving resident, an eight year old crossbreed called Freedom. Freedom has been at the Merseyside centre for six and a half years having been found as a stray in 2003.

On average dogs at Dogs Trust spend six weeks at a re-homing centre before finding a new family which means that poor Freedom has spent 56 times as long searching for his paw-fect home.   Freedom is a very nervous dog who barks constantly when he first meets new people – this has obviously put off visitors to the centre over the years and Freedom has never been offered a home. Once you have his trust, however, Freedom will form a strong bond.

Georgina Lowery, Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Merseyside, comments:- “Freedom is a lovely dog, but a combination of the fact that he needs a very specific home and is rather over-exuberant in the kennel environment means that he hasn’t yet caught the eye of a new owner. He has spent most of his life in kennels and while he has the very best care here, it’s no substitute for a loving family home. Please do get in touch if you could offer a home for Freedom.”

Freedom’s new owners will need to have the time and patience to work with this loving but under socialised lad to help build his confidence. They will need to come to the centre over several weeks to meet with him and to build up a bond. He will need an experienced adult-only home with no other pets in the house.  If you think you can offer a lovely new home to Freedom or to another of Dogs Trust Merseyside’s canine residents, please get in touch on:- 0151 480 0660.

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs each year through its network of 18 Rehoming Centres in the UK and Ireland.

For more information about the charity’s work please visit:-

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