MADRID – With over-65s already representing 16.5% of all drivers in Spain by 2021, most of the changes from the Spanish traffic service DGT in the requirements of driving license renewal will apply to the elderly.
In addition to making up a large proportion of drivers, the over-65s also account for 26% of fatalities in traffic accidents. DGT spokesperson, Pere Navarro, has expressed concern about the ageing population in this regard in the country.
Driving is a skill that people don’t forget over time, just like riding a bicycle. You don’t forget something like that. However, it cannot be ignored that with age, reflexes do not remain the same and responsiveness decreases. Driving a car requires more than just knowing how the pedals and gears work and the rules of the road.
Continue driving for 5 years after passing tests
Currently, people over 65 must sit a test/check before the renewal of their driving license is granted to continue driving for 5 years. The DGT considers that period to be “excessive”. Navarro acknowledges that it is a “delicate” change, but that shortening this period is a priority. That is why the traffic service is “focused on the deadlines”. What will not change are the physical and psychological tests. In addition, there will be a new European directive on this issue.
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The DGT aims to increase the frequency of medical and aptitude assessments for this group. The aim is to achieve greater road safety for everyone. The INE estimates that by 2030, 1 in 4 Spaniards will be over the age of 65. One of the proposals on the table is that the doctor responsible for the examinations should have access to the medical history of each driver.
Profile of drivers over the age of 65
Given the data on deaths and hospitalisations following traffic accidents, people over the age of 65 are most often involved in side, front-to-side and rear-end collisions. They are accidents that occur during the day and on weekdays and usually at intersections. Older people also commit more offences for not wearing seatbelts. The majority of the victims among those over-65s are men.
As a positive point, people over the age of 65 are less likely to be victims of head-on collisions and road exit accidents and commit fewer speeding or alcohol or drug-related offences.
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