Pensioners Told To Take The Bus

Pensioners – Driving and the Law


Don’t Get Old in Aberdeen

In a thoroughly ill-judged public relations disaster, Aberdeen’s Top Brass are now focussing their attention on the sick and elderly.

Pensioners are being pulled over by the Police and having a road side health MOT carried out by the Constabulary.

The real fear is that old age could spread to other parts of the country. And when it does, it seems that Police Scotland may be jumping in front of your vehicle.

Don’t Get Sick Either

In an additional blunder, Senior Officers were quoted by local press as saying that the roads could be safer if persons with diabetes and glaucoma were forced to surrender their licences. This can be useful if the Police stop someone who is simply sick instead of old. It is possible that some people will be both old and sick. If Police Scotland get their way, the free bus ride to the local hospital will become very busy indeed.


Is it Against the Law to be Old and Driving?

The short answer is no. However, as with all short answers there are a few caveats.

If you are 70 or over (or soon will be), you must renew your licence every 3 years. It is free to do so and can be done on-line via DVLA. It takes approximately one week for your licence to arrive.

You can continue to drive whilst you are awaiting the arrival of your licence as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • You have a valid application which is less than one year old
  • You’ve held a licence from Great Britain, the European Union or a country where you can change a non-British driving licence for a British licence
  • your doctor or consultant says you can keep driving
  • You’re not disqualified from driving
  • You follow any specific conditions attached to your licence
  • Your licence hasn’t been taken away for a medical reason (or because you broke the medical conditions of your licence)


What if I have diabetes? Do I have to take the bus?

You must inform DVLA if you have been diagnosed with certain illnesses. There is a useful a list of these conditions on the DVLA website.

For diabetes in particular, you must inform DVLA immediately if your diabetes is managed by insulin.

If you drive a car or motorbike and your diabetes is managed by diet or any other tablets or non-insulin injections, you do not have to inform DVLA.

If you hold a bus, coach or lorry licence you must tell DVLA. The only circumstance in which you would not have to inform DVLA is if your diabetes is managed by diet alone.

Why are the Police Targeting the Sick and Elderly?

Police Scotland appear to be proceeding under the umbrella of ‘road safety’. The logical inference is that somehow old drivers and persons suffering some form of illness are not best equipped to handle driving on the roads.

The message seems to be: Stay young, and if you can’t stay young, stay healthy or you will be stopped and questioned.

What Can I Do?

Fortunately, help is on hand. If you feel that you or a relative or friend has been unfairly targeted by virtue of your age or how unwell you look, you should contact a Road Traffic Lawyer in order to assist.

Has Anyone Actually Had Their Licence Taken Away?

In a very recent case, an elderly Aberdonian lady had her driving licence taken from her due to an alleged mis-diagnosis by her GP in relation to having suffered an epileptic seizure – a matter apparently since disputed by a specialist.

My Grandad is the Best Driver Ever

This may be true not only of your Grandad but also your Grandmother and your Great Uncle and Great Aunt.

There are approximately 4 million drivers aged 70 or over and statistics show that the elderly are a lot less likely to be involved in crashes than younger drivers.

It is a fact of life however that our capabilities decline with our own ‘miles on the clock’.

I’m a Good Driver but My Eyesight Isn’t Great

Diabetes and glaucoma and advancing years can affect your eyesight.

The legal requirement for eyesight when it comes to driving is that you must be able to read a licence plate from a distance of 20 metres (with your glasses or contact lenses – if you wear either). The equivalent distance in old money is 65 feet, 8 inches.

You are eligible for a free eye test if you are over 60 years of age or if you suffer from either diabetes or glaucoma.

Published: 29/05/2017

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