A crash involving Prince Philip in the UK has led to the inevitable calls for an age restriction on driving.

But authorities say it’s young people if anyone that need to be restricted.

Older drivers, they say, pose less of a risk.

Many people were surprised to learn that Prince Philip, who was shaken but not hurt in the accident near his Sandringham Estate on the 17th,  is still driving at the age of 97.

The accident is said to have occurred as the Duke’s drove his Land Rover out of a driveway on to the A149 shortly before 3:00pm.

Eyewitnesses said the Land Rover overturned in the impact.

Two women in the other car needed hospital treatment, but have since been discharged.

The Duke made the headlines when he personally drove the Obamas when the then-US president and first lady visited Windsor in 2016.

However, he retired from public life the following year, in August, 2017.

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, is reported to have tweeted a prayer in support of the Duke, and later another one for the two other people injured in the accident.

Acting head of road safety for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Nick Lloyd, said:

“In the wake of the incident, we have inevitably heard calls for mandatory testing of people of a certain age.

“This is a red herring – age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone’s ability to drive.

“Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents than other age groups.

“If we were to restrict drivers based on any relationship between age and accident rates, we would need to take a fresh look at inexperienced, younger drivers aged 17 to 24.

“Although this younger age group accounts for just seven per cent of the driving population, they are involved in around 22 per cent of fatal or serious road traffic incidents.

“In contrast, experience developed by older drivers over a lifetime of driving helps them anticipate and cope with hazardous situations.

“They often choose to use familiar routes and plan their journeys to make use of daylight and avoid congested rush hour traffic.

“The ability to drive gives people freedom to travel when and where they like,” he said.

In Australia the different states and territories have different age requirements, with a practical test required in some circumstances:

 

  • In NSW drivers over the age of 75 years need to have a medical review every year, but there is no requirement to take a practical test. That doesn’t happen until you’re 85, when you have the option of taking the test or applying for a modified licence that allows you to keep driving, but with conditions. For example, you may choose to drive only within a certain distance of home or only at certain times of the day.

 

  • In Victoria there are no such requirements, but In some cases, you may be required to undergo a medical review to assess your fitness to drive. This may happen if concerns about your ability to drive safely have been reported to VicRoads.

 

  • In Queensland you need to obtain a medical certificate every year if you’re 75 or older, which must be carried at all times.

 

  • In South Australia there are no such requirements. If you feel at any time that you’re not in a fit state to drive, however, then you’re encouraged not to drive. If you feel your health and general fitness are not sufficient to continue driving, you should consult your doctor.

 

  • In Western Australia once you reach the age of 80 you need to undergo an annual medical assessment before you can renew your driver’s licence.

 

  • In Tasmania drivers aged 75 years and over no longer need to undertake an annual medical assessment to keep their licence, but are encouraged to self-assess their driving ability and make sensible decisions as to when and where they should drive..

 

  • In the ACT Licence holders who are 75 years of age or older are required to be examined annually by a doctor..

 

  • In the Northern Territory licence holders are obligated to disclose any relevant conditions that could affect their driving ability and may be required to undergo a medical test. This does not mean that you will automatically lose your licence.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.