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Number of over 75’s caught drinking and driving soars

By Practice Group Leader, Road Traffic Defence

I was reading a story in the Daily Mail about the over 75's and the fact that drink-driving among elderly motorists has risen by a fifth in two years.

Firstly I find it hard to understand why the number has risen by 20% in two years. As far as I’m concerned, in that length of time, the number of elderly drivers will be the same and I cannot see why their driving habits will have changed substantially. I suspect therefore that the rise in this particular statistic will be more due to increased policing and enforcement in those certain areas.

I do not accept that this increased figure is due to drivers of a certain generation having a difference attitude towards drink driving. Any 75 year old today would’ve been 17 in 1955 and so would have lived through the changes in driving-culture and witnessed first hand the change in the attitude towards drink driving over the decades since. Few, if any people would dispute the fact that the laws around drink driving rules are there for a good reason, namely to save lives.

Whilst it is true that elderly drivers probably could “handle” a disqualification for drink driving, in that they would not be at risk of losing their jobs if already retired. It may equally be the case that they rely on their licence more than ever at that age to get around without relying so heavily on public transport or relatives and generally remain independent.

There will always be extreme examples such as the 93 year old from Devon but I would say that the vast majority of people convicted of drink driving are under 75 years old and this trend is probably more due to the over analysis of figures than and changing trends in the driving habits of the elderly.

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