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Charity backs bid to increase age for driving re-tests

Cars enter at the Transport Control Department (File photograph)

A campaign group for the elderly has welcomed a move to increase the age for mandatory driving retests.

But Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern questioned if the legislation for driver’s licences should still be framed around “old age” rather than “mental, physical or cognitive ability that impedes safe driving”.

She was speaking after legislation was tabled in the House of Assembly last Friday to raise the age for the driving exam for seniors to retain their licence from 65 to 70.

It will be raised under the Motor Car (Driver’s Licence Renewal) Amendment Act.

Dr Fleming said Age Concern had met Ministry of Transport officials in 2016 to ask “specifically about the necessity for the testing requirements of those 65 years who had no signs of declining physical health, mental capacity or driving ability”.

She added ministry staff were receptive and asked to see police and insurance statistics on seniors’ road behaviour and vehicle damage claims.

The ministry also promised to examine regulations in other countries and canvass views from the Road Safety Council as well as Age Concern’s members.

Dr Fleming said the charity’s members had come out against a mandatory re-test at 65 “based on a number rather than on ability or physical or mental capacity”.

She added research had shown driving was “key to independence in old age” and a valuable daily activity.

Dr Fleming said: “As Bermuda progresses in sophistication of the laws that impact and protect older adults, fostering an environment that strengthens their independence should include removing any unnecessary or unfair inhibitors.”

Dr Fleming said the charity was not aware if the proposed changes were the result of its campaigning.

But she added: “But we welcome the changes nonetheless.”

The legislation will be debated later this session of the House.

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Published February 26, 2021 at 8:29 am (Updated February 26, 2021 at 8:29 am)

Charity backs bid to increase age for driving re-tests

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