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More calls for elderly driver crackdown as cyclist is killed

There have been further calls for mandatory competency checks on elderly drivers after another cyclist was killed. Elaine Dunne was mown down after 93 year old Alice Ross experienced a blackout at the wheel of her car. With some nations, such as Canada, having those of a certain age taking eye tests and written examinations, experts have called for similar rules in Great Britain.

For cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, both with Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) plates or a private reg, it’s vital the roads are kept as safe as possible. This not only makes travelling far safer, but can help reduce driving costs too.

Alasdair MacDonald, a senior legal figure, said that once drivers reach their 80s, the law should require them to have health checks every two years. In addition, signed statements that certify good health should be submitted to the DVLA. Under current regulations, DVLA documents only have to be reapplied for every three years once drivers reach 70. Mr MacDonald highlighted the laws in Ontario, Canada, saying, “The local testing centres, introduced by the DVLA to make provision for the theory element of the driving test, could also with relative ease be adapted to basic tests of the nature in use in Ontario designed to easily and quickly check visual and mental acuity.” He added that though this tragedy couldn’t have been avoided, implementing such changes could prevent future deaths.

In the latest case, Mrs Ross had suffered a similar blackout just one month before she killed Ms Dunne. She had no recollection of the accident that occurred between Wick and John O’Groats on the A99. Following the fatal collision, she surrendered her licence. It’s not the first time such deaths have occurred, with Frank Muir, 80, killing teenagers Jayde McVicar and Holly Fulton in 2010 after a head-on collision. Meanwhile, in 2001, 73 year old Agnes Aitken accidentally drove against oncoming traffic and killed both herself and another motorist; 23 year old Pauline Short.

Addressing the concerns, a DVLA spokesman said, “There is an issue with the DVLAs system, largely based on self-appraisal and certification, when instead there ought to be a more rigorous system. There is no requirement for drivers to prove their standard of vision apart from the number-plate test, only conducted when they do their test, and it is a flawed test anyway as it doesnt check for visual field or contrast sensitivity.”

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