There is an urgent need to develop a strategy for an ageing car-driving population, a report by a Whitehall advisory body has said.
The report from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts) said that, whereas only 15% of over 70s held a driving licence in 1975, the figure for 2010 was nearly 60%, and will hit 80% within 10 years.
The report said that it was essential that planning decisions were "health-checked" for older people and that the medical profession becomes effective in giving advice on both physical and mental fitness to drive.
Over the next decade the balance of the population in this country will change. Older people need to be kept mobile and safe. Hopefully 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.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists said: "Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we should make them more aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them eliminate bad habits. Driving helps older people play a full and active part in society."