Driving For the Over 70's
What happens when I turn 70?
The number of over-70s who hold a UK driving licence has exceeded four million
When a driver reaches the age of 70 their driving licence must be renewed.
If you wish to renew your driving licence at 70 you must complete the necessary paperwork and return it to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) well in advance of your 70th birthday. It is recommended that you do at least 90 days in advance.
The relevant forms you will need to complete and return are the: D46P (for paper licences) or the D46 (for photocard licences). Either of these applications can be sent to you prior to the expiry date on your licence and you should fill them out and return them including the necessary photographs and payment as soon as you can.
You generally only need to send photographs if you have never held a photocard licence. The fee for is currently £20.
What you need to consider as an older driver
You must renew your driving licence every three years after you turn 70, but there are no laws on what age you must stop driving.
Unless your health or eyesight suddenly get worse, it can be difficult to know when you should stop driving.
Your safety – and the safety of other road users – is the most important thing to consider. If you’re concerned that your driving is not as good as it was, don’t wait for an accident to convince you to stop.
It may be time to give up driving if, for example
- your reactions are noticeably slower than they used to be
- you find traffic conditions increasingly stressful
- your eyesight is getting worse
you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to drive safely – ask your GP for advice
The law on medical conditions and driving
You must tell the DVLA about any medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive safely. This could be previous health conditions that have worsened, or new ones.
If you’re involved in an accident where your health condition may have been a factor, you could be prosecuted. Your insurance may also not cover you.
Check whether you need to notify the DVLA of your medical condition
The effect of prescription medication on driving
If you’re on prescribed medication, ask your doctor if it could affect your driving. Some medicines can cause drowsiness, dizziness or difficulty concentrating.
Even common over-the-counter medicines, like painkillers or flu and cold remedies, may impair your driving. Always check the prescription label or ask your pharmacist about any medicines you buy over the counter.
Driving if you have cataracts
It’s illegal to drive if you can’t read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you need glasses or contact lenses to see this far, make sure you wear them every time you drive.
As you get older, your eyes can change without you realising. By having regular eye tests, your optician will be able to spot early signs of certain conditions that affect your ability to drive. These include
If you think that your vision is changing, speak to your optician, GP or specialist. They will be able to tell you whether you need to report any condition to the DVLA.
If you have cataracts but still meet the eyesight standard for driving, you should avoid driving at night or into very bright sunlight.
Help with disabilities and driving
If driving is becoming difficult because of reduced mobility, you may be able to have your vehicle adapted. This could involve having a ramp or lift fitted to help you get in and out of your vehicle.
How to get an assessment of your driving skills
If you’re worried about your fitness to drive, talk to your GP or a health professional. Or you could Call us at U Drive to get an experienced driver assessment to get an objective (and confidential) assessment of your driving skills.