December 4, 2021

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Driving a matter of age or health?

Driving a matter of age or health?

Should driving limits be defined by age or should only psychological and physical conditions be considered? The controversy isn’t new but the director general of traffic, Perry Navarro, has reopened it by announcing a review of exams and deadlines for seniors card renewal.

28% of traffic fatalities are over 65, a group that represents 15% of the driver population and 19% of the population (it will be 26.5% in 2035). Data that presents a challenge to traffic officials, but also to the entire road safety sector.

28% of those killed in accidents are over the age of 65, a category that accounts for 15% of the driver population

A review of driving license renewal deadlines is included in Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which has already applied, confirmed Efe María José Aparicio, Deputy Director General for Road Training and Education at the Directorate General of Traffic.

excessive hairpin

Currently, a driver’s license is valid for 10 years for those under 65 and for 5 years from that age. It’s “excessive scope,” according to Aparicio, who suggests “dividing up” this “excessively broad and diverse” group.

Those over the age of 65 must renew their driver’s license every five years


The idea is to set deadlines more suitable for people’s psychophysical development, and for this there will be a study of how to adapt the validity times to reality, although “everything tells us that a five-year period for a 90-year-old is a lot”.

In addition, the DGT is working with the Ministry of Health on a new assessment protocol targeting driver identification centers, which will establish updated medical standards and be ready next year.

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A step forward

The head of the Foundation for Road Safety (Fesvial), Javier Lamazares, confirmed in statements to Efe, that at an older age the psychological and physical conditions of the driver decrease, which is why he prescribed a revision of the time limits, especially in the elderly. “

The front of this car was destroyed in a traffic accident

28% of those killed in accidents are over 65 years old

Sean Lowe

But he noted that driving is a citizen’s freedom, according to the World Health Organization. So he believes that “you have to hit a ‘mix’ in the procedures.”

The SAVIMA study by Fesvial revealed that seniors were 12% less likely to commit a speeding ticket but 169% more likely to skip a stop. Most of the accidents of this group are recorded on urban roads and the vast majority on straight lines.

The results indicate that after the age of 75, psychological and physical problems begin to emerge, and it is often family members who discover them, precisely because of the driving situation.

Age, a determining factor in rejections

Each year, there are approximately 30,000 denials and about 320,000 restrictive cases, such as shortened driver’s license renewal, having a limited driving radius, being able to drive only during the day, and not carrying passengers or speed limits.

Review the medical examination center to renew the driver's license

The examination conducted by medical centers for card renewal includes coordination and dexterity examination

Sonia Moreno

And age is a “decisive factor” for declaring a person “unfit” or for imposing restrictions, according to Bonifacio Martin, MD, a psychologist and general secretary of the Spanish Association of Psychiatric Medical Centers.

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Martin denounced “allowing” some centers “where he sees the blind and the lame running to fight them.”

This organization is calling for a return to regulations before 2009, so that the maximum validity of the permit from 70 years is two years, a claim that has not yet succeeded, it regrets.

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Martin has denounced the “allowing” of certain centers “where he sees the blind and the lame running to fight them” and frequently asserts that it is the driver’s older families who call with the question “that they don’t give them the license or they don’t take it off because they killed him.”

previous health report

They also advocate from the medical community about the need to renew card validity periods and some tests to adapt them to new scientific knowledge.

Review the medical examination center to renew the driver's license

An eye test is one of the tests that must be passed to obtain a driver’s license renewal

Sonia Moreno

Although more than age must be done for diseases, namely those that indicate disability, says Efe José María Pérez y Pérez, representative of the General Council of Medical Societies before the DGT, who warns of the tendency to “disguise” disease or “amplify affluence” when You go for a medical examination.

For this reason, the council requires the driver to submit a pre-health report, because the center’s doctor “is not a fortune-teller to know within two or five minutes of an interview if a person has had a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or a serious depressive episode,” Target.

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For this ophthalmologist, the commercial competition between recognition centers is “so negative”, that “in some cases the doctor is forced to “fit in” or take to the street”.

Update knowledge for license renewal?

The president of the National Federation of Schools of Driving (CNAE), Enrique Lorca, also supports the revision of deadlines and advocates, in statements to Efe, “a kind of knowledge update” along with license renewal.

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He stresses that “from the moment a person takes the permit at age 18, new systems or infrastructure may emerge, such as roundabouts, that many people still do not know how to approach.”

Driving schools in recent years have noticed a demand for refresher or refresher courses by older people who have stopped driving and want to get behind the wheel again, a demand that has increased with the pandemic.