An EU proposal to force drivers over 70 to undergo refresher courses or medical tests has been slammed as “completely discriminatory”.
In an effort to reduce the number of road fatalities, the European Commission is consulting on whether there should be tougher rules on pensioners renewing their driving licence.
Fianna Fáil Senator Niall Blaney said such a measure would be unnecessary.
“First of all, it’s completely discriminatory taking a blanket view like this,” he said.
“Not everybody’s the same.
“It’s a completely wrong way to approach this and all the evidence suggests that the problem isn’t with people over 70, the evidence suggests that people over 70 are some of the most experienced, safest drivers on the roads.”
In Ireland, drivers between the age of 65 and 71 renewing their licence are given one that expires on their 75th birthday.
Those aged between 72 and 74 are given a three year licence and those over 75 must be certified as fit to drive by a doctor.
“I think the system we have works really, really well and actually the evidence is there to support that,” Senator Blaney said.
“We do have issues in relation to safe driving practices on this island but [it] doesn’t relate to those in the age bracket of 70 [plus].”
'Not a blip'
2023 has been a treacherous year on Irish roads with 168 fatalities as of November 21st.
By comparison, in the same period of 2022, there were 135 and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described the figures as “not a blip”.
In response, Transport Minister Jack Chambers has promised the Government’s road safety reforms will be “accelerated” through the Oireachtas.
Main image: Pair of elderly women in a car. Picture by: Alamy.com