It's My Choice: Safer mobility for an ageing population – press release

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has today
published a major report looking at safe mobility for an ageing population. The report,
entitled “It’s My Choice” and available on line from www.pacts.org.uk, looks at all
aspects of public and private transport, arguing that we need to promote greater and
safer mobility for an ageing society in order to ensure the benefits that independent
mobility can bring to quality of life.
The report was written by Naomi Baster, PACTS’ Policy and Research Officer. It was
commissioned in response to concerns that, while discussions about an ageing
population had focused on pensions and social care, little thought had been given to
the impact of population change on mobility and the independence arising from it.
The number of 70+ year olds holding a licence, for example, has risen from 15% in
1975 to nearly 60% in 2010. 80% of current 60-69 year olds hold licences and will
continue to drive for the next 20 years. Over 80% of 30-39 year olds are licence
holders and will drive until at least 2050. The report therefore concludes that older
road users are here to stay and that a national strategy for an ageing population is
vital.
This is especially important as reductions in casualties have not been as great for this
group as for all road users.
Percentage reductions in Killed and Serious Injuries 2001-2010
Pedestrians
All ages: 38%
60-69: 37%
70-79: 40%
80+: 33%
Car Passengers
All ages: 53%
60-69: 44%
70-79: 43%
80+: 16%
The report also draws the distinction between road users who are at risk and who pose
a risk to others. Older road users tend to be in the former group. It is therefore
essential that planning decisions are “health-checked” for older people and that the
medical profession is more effective in giving advice on both physical and mental
fitness to drive. In addition, while there are good examples of local interventions to
help older drivers such as SAGE in Gloucestershire and the Older Drivers Awareness
Week next week (March 19 to 23) in Sussex, there should be a national course
designed for older road users. Support should not be affected by the geography of
where you live, the report concludes.
Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “Over
the next decade the balance of the population in this country will change. Older
people need to be kept mobile and safe. I hope that this report will generate a national
discussion about the state of our pavements and the relevance of self-regulation when
it comes to giving up your driving licence. We need to move beyond seeing older
people as a problem to viewing them as contributing to a mixed society.”
ENDS

Download the document

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