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Background

The proportion of people in the 70 and over age group who hold a driving licence has been steadily increasing year on year, from 15% in 1975 to 62% in 2013.

The aim of this project, funded by the College and undertaken by a team led by Dr Carol Hawley at Univesity of Warwick Medical School, was to use MAST data to provide insights into the associations between age of driver, accident type and medical and visual impairment.

MAST Online is an analysis tool, developed by Road Safety Analysis, and combines national collision data with socio-demographic profiling data for use by road safety professionals. Part of the MAST data is based on statistics collated by police officers at the scene of a road traffic collision (STATS19). The attending police officer has the opportunity to record factors which have contributed to the collision. These include ‘uncorrected defective eyesight’ (contributory factor 504), ‘illness or disability, mental or physical (contributory factor 505), and ‘failed to look properly’ (contributory factor 405). Data on these contributory factors provide an opportunity to explore the relationships between age of driver, type of accident and contributory factors relating to the driver’s vision and health.

It was hypothesized that older drivers would be more likely than younger drivers to be involved in a road collision where visual or medical impairment was a contributory factor, and the results have shown an association between injury-collisions and visual impairment and health.

The report

Download a report produced by the project team:

 

Recommendations

  1. UK Campaign to encourage drivers to have regular sight tests and take responsibility for looking after their eyes. 
     
  2. All drivers should have a vision check every five years and every two years for drivers over 60.
     
  3. Propose to Government that drivers aged 70 and over should have a mandatory sight test upon renewal of their driving licence.
     
  4. Research to gain consensus on the best combination of visual tests for driver licensing in the UK, and the intervals between sight tests.

Other resources of interest

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