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Over-90s determined to stay behind wheel
9:30am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
BY THE time you get to 90, you might think it would be time to put your feet up and forget about driving your car.
But more than 1,000 over-90s in Oxfordshire still hold a driving licence, including five people aged 100 and over.
The figures released to the Oxford Mail through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show that of the 469,676 licence holders in Oxfordshire, 1,120 of those are over the age of 90.
There are two 100-year-olds, a man and a woman, one 101-year-old man and a further two 102-year-old men who still have their licences.
At the age of 70, drivers have to re-apply for a licence every three years. There are 52,261 people, the majority of whom are men, over the age of 70 holding licences in Oxfordshire.
And while some might worry about being stuck behind them on country lanes, experts say older people are often safer drivers – as long as they stop driving once they are medically unfit to do so.
Bill Buckingham, 92, has been driving for more than 70 years and says it offers him independence.
Mr Buckingham, of Court Farm Road, Rose Hill, said he only uses his Ford Ka for shorter journeys.
He said: “I only use it locally.
“With the traffic the way it is, I would never go on the motorway or drive at night. I don’t think people should at my age. ”
Mr Buckingham is not able to drive at the moment due to a broken hip, but will be behind the wheel again once he recovers.
“As long as you are sensible about it then I can’t see a problem.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists said older drivers were in general safer drivers than younger ones.
Head of driving standards at the IAM, Peter Rodger, said: “Older drivers are not constrained by work hours.
“There are some high-risk activities, however.
“On dual carriageways with complex junctions, older people can be vulnerable to an accident.
Siobhan MacMahon, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “Brake urges all drivers to discuss the impact of health conditions and any medication they take with their GP and get eye tests every two years or sooner if they notice a problem.”
Age UK Oxfordshire spokeswoman Rachelle Kennedy said: “There are many options available, such as driver refresher courses to help you regain your confidence, and car adaptations to make driving easier.”
If elderly drivers have any questions or worries, they can contact Age UK on 0844 887 0005.
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