Take action on risk drivers

FAMILY members of elderly motorists are being urged to monitor their driving after an increase of seniors dying on the state's roads. 

Increase in elderly motorists in crashes

People aged 70 and older made up almost a quarter of road deaths in 2013 with 60 lives claimed on Victorians roads - an increase of 13 from the previous year. 

Dot Hockings, 78, said she took away her husband's licence a few years ago because he was a danger to himself and others on the road.

"He was getting too slow," she said.

"So I told the doctor to tell my husband to hand his licence in.

"Family needs to look after each other."

Mrs Hocking said she would support a move to compulsory testing - as New South Wales has - for elderly drivers every two years. 

"I already get a medical test every year to ensure I'm driving safely and my eyesight is okay," she said. 

"I crashed into another car in 2003 so I have to get tested regularly." 

I told the doctor to tell my husband to hand his licence in. Family needs to look after each other. - Dot Hockings

Mavis Lowndes, 85, said the figure of 60 seniors dying on the roads was alarming. 

The elderly are dying at a greater rate than the young - 10 per 100,000 compared to six per 100,000 last year.

"I haven't had a crash in more than 60 years," she said. 

"I've had my licence since the 1950s.

"I think compulsory testing isn't necessary.

"Some people older than 70 are great drivers, and others are not." 

Last year was Victoria's worst year for road deaths among people over 70 since 2001. The toll for that age group has been between 44 and 47 for the past four years.

Bendigo police Highway Patrol Acting Senior Sergeant Della Nihill said police liaised with family members if they suspected a senior's driving was impaired. 

"We ask family members to urge elderly drivers to speak to a GP," she said.

"We also ask elderly drivers who feel nervous or concerned to get a driving instructor.

"The driving instructor will be able to determine what needs to be addressed."

Victorians aged over 75 have their licences renewed every three years and decide their own fitness to drive - but family, friends, police and GPs are urged to report at-risk drivers.

All other states have some form of age-based medical testing or driving assessment.

A VicRoads spokeswoman said the authority had investigated age-based assessments many times, but found no proof they would lead to better road safety.

- with THE AGE

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