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Reviews Press

Are the media running elderly drivers off the road?

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:368
  1. Alan Martin, registrar,
  2. Lucy Balding, house officer,
  3. Desmond O'Neill, associate professor (
  1. department of medical gerontology, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin 24, Ireland

Drivers over the age of 65 are the safest drivers of any age group. Even the commonly cited statistic of a higher risk of crash per kilometre among this group has been shown to be an artefact: low mileage is intrinsically risky, and studies show that when this is controlled for the older drivers perform as well as, if not better than, younger drivers (Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 2002;5: 271-4). Despite this evidence many European governments have enacted restrictive legislation directed at them.

The negative perception extends to the American Medical Association's 2003 guideline Assessing Fitness to Drive in Older People. Although the guideline is clinically useful, its preface still emphasises …

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