How much do you remember about taking your driving test? I’m guessing not much, because it’s not something most of us want to relive, other than the bit where the examiner said “Well, Mr X, I’m pleased to say…”
But doesn’t it seem kind of crazy that we don’t have to relive it, that we only have to sit our test once as little more than a child, then can continue driving unchecked for 70 years, and maybe longer, if we’re lucky?
Drivers in the UK currently have to renew their driving licenses every 10 years, but that’s just admin: you fill in a form, supply an up-to-date photo and carry on as normal. When you get to 70 years old, you have to renew every three years, but the onus is on the driver to decide whether they’re fit to get behind the wheel.
My father-in-law has just turned 90 and reluctantly decided to hang up his car keys because a back problem means he can no longer feel the pedals beneath his feet as well as he could before. If it wasn’t for that admittedly major issue, he’d still be driving, and I’d be happy to drive with him because mentally he’s as sharp as a ’59 Caddy’s tailfin. And that’s despite him passing his test a decade before fins peaked, and nine years before the opening of Britain’s first motorway, the Preston Bypass, whose exact route is the result of his own survey work.
Related: 83-Year-Old Man Caught Driving Without A License For More Than 70 Years
But what about those who aren’t so sharp, or so honest about their medical conditions, or just honest about their ability to drive? And I’m not just talking about the elderly. Our roads are filled with drivers of all ages who probably shouldn’t be driving. And given that we’re not forced to undergo any periodical training or re-testing, that’s probably not much of a surprise.
The exception to that in the UK is drivers who have been convicted of a driving offense that has resulted in a ban of longer than 56 days, such as a serious speeding offense or a disqualification for drink driving. The irony is that these drivers will be seen as high risk once they have regained their licenses, and will be hit with high insurance premiums, when they’re probably more aware of the rules of the road and how to drive safely having gone through a re-testing process.
Would you be willing to submit yourself to periodic re-tests, say every 10 years or so, to keep your skills sharp and rid the road of unsafe drivers? Leave a comment and let us know.