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Eddie Mair | 16:48 UK time, Monday, 23 July 2007

After Sir Stirling and Mr Enfield - what do YOU think?


  1. At 05:20 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Isn't there a simple solution here? If an older driver keeps being at fault in accidents, there's a problem. If they don't, there isn't.

    But, with a mother living in Eastbourne, I'm very well aware that there are some very 'iffy' older drivers around, too. But most of these are in their 90s.

  2. At 05:23 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Robert Armstrong wrote:

    First off, I have to admit a bias, having a few years ago been run over by a car when the drived decided to reverse across a pedestrian crossing, and I have the metal pins and artificial tendons in my leg to prove it...

    Sir Stirling was spot on - people need much more testing after they have passed their original test, poor driving is sometimes related to age but far more frequently a result of people just not thinking. Testing won't cure that, but might just get it through to more drivers that they need to engage their brain, not just the gears, EVERY time they use their car.

  3. At 05:24 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Richard Gatto wrote:

    Listening to the arguements concerning older drivers my initial thoughts are that most accidents on the road are by "young inexperienced" drivers. Of course some older drivers are going to cause concern as their reflexs get slower - but isn't that why most of them drive slowly anyway, they recognise that fact.

    If anything all we need is for medical practioners to tell DVLA when their patients are not fit to drive. A GP will tell you that if you have diabetes you have to notify DVLA. Maybe they should inform DVLA as well for this condition and any others that DVLA deems notifiable.

  4. At 05:25 PM on 23 Jul 2007, sophie wrote:

    The main danger on the road is people driving too fast. The older people get - the slower they tend to drive. It's younger drivers who need re-testing or checking up on -not the older more careful ones.

  5. At 05:33 PM on 23 Jul 2007, John Lomas wrote:

    As a professional driving instructor of 65, and also a RoSPA Gold Standard Advanced Driver, I would have no problem with a further test provided that the DSA had nothing to do with it.
    I would hate to have to bring my standards back down to a level to satisfy an ordinary driving examiner.

    However a better idea would be if the insurance companies required a "Road Risk Assessment and Rectification Course" following all crashes.

    These could be similar to the National Driver Improvement Courses being offered around the country following crashes reported to the police and appearing to be due to Due Care and Attention offences.

    Similar courses are now being offered to Fleet Managers for those driving on behalf of their companies, whether in company cars or private cars, this is because the HSE are now looking more closely at occupational road accidents.

  6. At 05:36 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Well, Mr Enfield made a fair point about sexism being introduced into the programme as well as ageism.

    Oi, Stirling! When you get into a hole, stop digging! Women putting their hands out of the window to dry their nail varnish, forsooth. Even though he did say that wasn't necessarily what lady drivers do. Oh, no.

    Poor old buffer hasn't noticed that most people don't use hand signals any more. (There, you see, a spot of ageism for balance)

  7. At 05:36 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Michael wrote:

    As a 60+ male driver, it seems to me that the worst drivers are the 30 to 50 year old male thrusters who are always in a hurry from one business meeting to another, with a mobile phone stuck permannently and illegally in their ear.

    At 60+, drivers tend to be a touch more mature, reliable and aware of their fellow road users. They even have there own insurance company in Saga, who must consider the older driver a better insurance bet.

  8. At 05:40 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Nic Houghon wrote:

    Like Sir Stirling Moss I am appalled by the declining standards of driving in UK. We have become a nation of speeders. I have been watching this as I drive around southern England. Yes, I get annoyed by bad drivers. But it has been therapeutic to note their numbers and add them to a Blog (Highway Code Breakers). The list is growing.
    Whatever measures are in place to catch and penalise divers that transgress the law, it is clearly not enough.
    My monitoring reveals that it is not the young or the old, and neither male nor female that are the worst; it is everyone !

  9. At 05:43 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    That was rain* you were talking about Eddie?


    Sir Sterling hit the nail on the head. Experienced drivers are usually better drivers.
    And tests for all.

    *Well with that for a choice of subject headings... what do you expect :-)

  10. At 05:43 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Robert Postance wrote:

    If drivers, of any age, are as competent as they think they are an additional test say, every five or ten years should present no problem.

  11. At 05:46 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Steve wrote:

    How about making all drivers retake a form of the test after, say, 10 years? That will keep everyone up to scratch with the current road rules and make sure their driving is assessed. And it doesn't pick on any particular age group, gender etc.

  12. At 05:47 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    Re msg displayed on twitter.com post on warning to save everything due to impending system shut down ...

    Just wanted to comment that this listener thinks you are all doing Sterling work ... over there


  13. At 05:57 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Chris wrote:

    I was unhappy with Stirling Moss's comment that the Advanced Driving test was of limited use in improving driving standards. This test requires a much higher standard than the DSA test and if everyone drove to the Advanced standard road accidents would be considerably reduced.

    The problem is that if this level was introduced for all drivers perhaps as many as two thirds would not have a licence.

  14. At 06:10 PM on 23 Jul 2007, bikerboy wrote:

    Over the five years or so I have been cycling to and from work I can categorically say that BMW drivers are by far the the most dangerous and thoughtless. I can only surmise that a lot of BMW (and Mercedes) drivers have had their little fingers amputated. This could be one possible reason why they can't use their indicators.
    Also there are an increasing amount of people on British roads that learned to drive overseas where the driving culture is very different. We should all be required to retake a driving test every five years. No pass, No drive!

  15. At 06:20 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    The company I used to work for insisted on a driving assessment for all employees under 25 before they were allowed to use a pool car or drive their own car on company business. This reflected the assessment of risk. It did not require testing of older employees unless they were involved in an accident on company time.

    Would be interested to know the cost / benefit assessment of regular retesting.

  16. At 07:40 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Can you all read a number plate at 20.5 metres? I still see a fair few folk who are barely legal to drive in good light who attend for eye exams. A number are extremely stubborn to admitting that vision correction would help them.

    Some sort of regular assessment whether organised by insurers or DVLA is a good idea.

    Why do I think that once drivers licences did not run on till age 70?

  17. At 08:21 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Charlie wrote:

    A new test every five years.

    I pass, or I don't. If I don't, I'm off the road.

  18. At 09:12 PM on 23 Jul 2007, nora connell wrote:

    The Dept of Transport should sort out the bio diesel mess - rather than stick their noses into something that doesn't need fixing. Mr Enfield was dead right in his comment that if there was a problem then the Insurance Coys would soon be telling us - and putting excesses on the grey drivers!
    RESIST this now - tell the Dept of Transport to keep off - otherwise we'll see annaul inspections at £100 per whack - and another HIPS type fiasco.

    Sir Stirling is off is head - he should stick to driving - not politics!

  19. At 09:24 PM on 23 Jul 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    I just want to know one thing. Who does Stirling Moss think he is? Stirling Moss?

  20. At 10:54 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Prue Lester wrote:

    Sir Stirling's dismissal of the advanced driving test on the grounds that the only benefit might be a reduction in insurance premiums is astonishing. The real benefit is to have the attitude of mind and skills of an advanced driver. The course is based on the system used by the police and would make a useful "grade 2" for all motorists.

  21. At 10:56 PM on 23 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Tony (19) tee hee.

  22. At 09:34 AM on 24 Jul 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Chris (13):

    The problem is that if this level was introduced for all drivers perhaps as many as two thirds would not have a licence.

    I don't see the problem here. We don't have any God/EU given right to drive, so why not limit it to those people who can consistently prove they are both skilled and responsible enough to do it.

    I'd vote for regular (2-5 years) testing, but what would be practical for people who fail? Compulsory lessons and retesting? How many fails would you need to get a lifetime ban? How would you enforce it?

    How about levels of competence? Somone might be passed as able to drive a hatchback up to 1500 cc engine but not a sports car or SUV for example. Would that work?

  23. At 11:16 AM on 24 Jul 2007, Charlie wrote:

    I meant to add to my post @17 that, in my opinion, a 5 yearly driving test should also incorporate a full medical examination including tests for drug and alcohol abuse...

    SSC @ 22

    I believe your points in paragraphs 3 & 4 are perfectly valid (Sir Stirling Moss also raised the issues in para 4) and could be resolved by Parliament quite easily

  24. At 12:19 PM on 24 Jul 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Having seen the estimates of the number of people driving without a license (or insurance) I think that pragmatically, the introduction of a re test (after 5 or 10 years) would simply increase the number of drivers driving without a valid licencse -

    a solution that creates a bigger problem.

    In my (humble) opinion, it is courtesy which we need to introduce more of, not testing.


  25. At 01:57 PM on 24 Jul 2007, Geoff wrote:

    Sir Stirling's comment about different classes of driving licence depending upon ability, experience, age, etc is little more than common sense. We should also consider disabling certain features and controls.

    When my son (8) expressed surprise at our having a female pilot on a recent holiday flight, I was quick to reassure him "Don't worry, Son, aircraft don't have reverse gears".

  26. At 02:24 PM on 24 Jul 2007, Wonko wrote:

    There's a lot of arrogance out on our roads, a lot of people seem to think that their journey is MUCH more important than the thousands of others getting in their way. I have to agree with Nikki, what is needed is greater courtesy on our roads. More consideration for other road users together with people actually LOOKING before they do something would help a great deal. A healthy dose of patience wouldn't be amiss either.

    I certainly won't claim to be a good driver; like most on the road I go too fast, brake too late and too harsely, don't signal enough, don't pay enough attention and get impatient with other people. But, I do try to be a courtious driver.

    A general catalogue of poor driving I see everyday consists of:

    - Failing to stop at red traffic lights.
    - Doing 45mph in a 30mph zone.
    - Tailgating and intimidation
    - Pulling out without signalling.
    - Turning without signalling.
    - Pushing out halfway across a major road whilst trying to join from a minor road causing traffic to have to stop in both directions to let the person out.
    - Not letting people pull out from junctions.
    - Generally no idea of how roundabouts (or giving way to the right) work.
    - The usual mobile 'phone.
    - Parking illegally everywhere transending mere parking and going into the relms of abandonment.
    - Stopping in the middle of road and getting out of the car and leaving it (but it's ok, they've left their hazzard warning lights flashing!)
    - When there is a queue of traffic on the other side of a crossing controlled by traffic lights pilling straight ahead and then sitting in the middle of the junction, blocking the road for everyone else.
    - Honking your horn impatiently at someone who doesn't do the above, but instead obeys the law and waits at the signal for their lane to be clear before going ahead.
    - I also see a lot of very expensive cars on the road where I must assume that the indicators were an optional extra the owner decided not purchase, seeing as they never, ever indicate.

    All of the above are without restriction to particular age group, social grouping, sex or any other way of dividing people into groupings. I'm not sure further testing is the answer, rigarous enforcement of the current law by sufficient Police to do it - in person, not relying on cameras - combined with some penalties that actually bite might do it. How about crushing the cars of persistent offenders and then charging them for recycling the materials?

  27. At 04:47 PM on 24 Jul 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    I’m sure we saw householders trying to save their homes from the floods without wearing fluorescent jackets, hardhats and safety shoes – has the BBC issued a helpline number where members of the Health & Safety Executive can seek counselling.

  28. At 07:16 PM on 24 Jul 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    Did Ruth Kelly first decide to ban the over 70s from driving before or after she inhaled?

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