A 78-year-old woman who was told she was “unsafe” to drive has won back her licence.
Elderly driver, Georgina Frances Hitchen, had her licence revoked after a 2012 accident.
DVLA listed the reason for disqualification as a “age-related cognitive impairment”, but a High Court judge disagreed and overturned the decision.
Ms Justice Simler told the court that there was no medical evidence to back DVLA’s decision.
“A relevant disability cannot be inferred from a driving performance alone,” said Ms Justice Simler.
“There had to be clear evidence that ‘a relevant physical or mental disability’ existed but in Ms Hitchen’s case there was none.
“In fact there was clear evidence that she did not suffer from cognitive impairment.
“This was a case where bad driving could have been caused by something else, such as poor driving habits, lack of skill, anxiety or nervousness.”
Elderly Drivers Fight for Rights
Appearing before magistrates, Ms Hitchen said that the DVLA’s decision was worrying to other elderly drivers.
The 78-year-old argued that elderly drivers were being victimised purely on their age alone.
Without evidence of medical issues elderly drivers could have their licences revoked, where in similar cases younger drivers would not.
A recent surge in older drivers in the UK has lead to the suggestion that driving tests would need to be taken.
A report from the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety – Pacts – said:
“It is vital that the course providers are seen as a non-threatening organisation.
“It is important that the tone of any such intervention is positive and supportive, avoiding undermining confidence or giving a negative image of growing older.”
Facts About Elderly Drivers
- It is estimated that by 2030, 90% of men over 70 will still be driving.
- Elderly Drivers over 80 are two and a half times as likely to be killed in a collision as drivers in their forties.
- Teenage drivers are less safe than elderly drivers.
- Very few elderly drivers are involved in drink driving incidents.
By Peter Jepson