Sunday 6 June 2010

The lethal farce of elderly drivers who kill

A car driven by an 89-year-old with a heart condition killed a mother and 18-month-old son after he died at the wheel, an inquest heard.

Ernest Wray suffered from angina and 90 per cent blocked arteries but was not obliged to declare it and was declared medically fit to drive by the DVLA.

East Lancashire Coroner Michael Singleton questioned the procedure currently imposed by the DVLA where drivers over the age of 70 have to renew their license on a three year basis.

A doctor for the DVLA told the inquest that there is currently no age limit on driving because of age discrimination rules and the renewal forms are filled in by the driver themselves -with no assessment being made by a doctor.

A medical policy officer for the DVLA admitted that despite a warning on the self certified form that warns people they will be prosecuted if they send false information to the DVLA on the renewal form there has never been such a prosecution.

The inquest heard that a person suffering from angina is still allowed to drive unless driving brings about heart pain,or a third party, for example a doctor, police officer or relative, reports a concern to the DVLA about the person's driving.

The coroner, who recorded a verdict of accident death, asked Dr Stephanie Williams, a doctor for the DVLA: 'At what stage do the DVLA say hang on this isn't enough?

Dr Williams replied: 'At the moment at no stage do we do that.' She agreed that technically you could drive at the age of 130 or 140.