Mum's plea for elderly drivers to be retested following son's death is turned down (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Patricia Colquhoun asks for elderly drivers to be retested
IT WOULD be too expensive and inconvenient for elderly drivers to retake driving tests, a grieving mother has been told.
Neil Colquhoun, of Birch Grove, Hook, died following a head-on collision that took place on the A30 between Water End and Hatch, on March 11 last year.
The driver of the other car, retired GP Turner Waddell, who was 89 at the time of the crash, was given a suspended jail sentence at Winchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving. He had been driving on the wrong carriageway.
Judge Keith Cutler said Waddell should not have been driving at all due to poor eyesight.
After the sentence, Mr Colquhoun’s mother Patricia, of Harebell Close, Hartley Wintney, wrote to her MP, James Arbuthnot, asking if drivers over 80 could undergo a theory or practical retest.
Her letter was forwarded to Mike Penning MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
In his written reply, seen by The Gazette, he said there are no plans to introduce a theory or practical driving test for older drivers, and that licences are issued on the basis of medical fitness, not age.
Mr Penning added: “There is no current evidence to suggest any form of additional testing of all older drivers would have a major effect on road safety.
“Introducing such tests would, however, put the majority of older drivers, who remain competent and fit to drive and who make sensible decisions about when and how they do so, to unnecessary additional inconvenience and expense.”
Currently, drivers over 70 have to declare they are fit to drive and licences have to be renewed every three years.
Mrs Colquhoun told The Gazette: “It’s ridiculous. If people can afford to have a car and maintain it, they can afford to be retested.
“Everybody slows down when they get older – it’s a natural part of ageing. But on the road you need to be aware of what is going on around you, not in your own little world.”
Mrs Colquhoun said she hopes a planned appearance on Inside Out, the BBC regional news digest programme, will help boost awareness of the issue.
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