Do I Need A New Driving Licence Over 70? And More Elderly Driving Questions
March 27th, 2023
If you’re still enjoying driving over 70, then it’s likely you’ve had your licence for several decades. With rules and regulations changing, you might be wondering if you need to renew your driving licence over 70. This guide explains when it’s time to renew your licence, how a driving assessment for elderly people works, and how to know when you’re ready to stop driving.
Renewing Your Driving Licence Over 70
A UK driving licence expires at the age of 70. You will need to renew your driving licence over 70 and you can do this completely free of charge online. If you don’t want to renew your driving licence online, then the DVLA will send you a paper application form 90 days before your 70th birthday. If you do not receive this form in the post, you can collect one from your local post office.
It takes around three weeks for a postal application to be processed. After this initial renewal of your driving licence over 70, you will then need to renew your driving licence every three years.
Can You Still Drive When You Renew Your Driving Licence Over 70?
While you’re waiting for your licence to be renewed, you are still able to drive. However, you must meet certain conditions to do so:
- You must not currently be disqualified from driving
- You must have previously held a valid UK driving licence
- There must be no medical reasons behind why your last licence was revoked
Types of Driving Licence Over 70
When you renew a driving licence over 70, you need to ensure that you fill in all the information correctly and declare any relevant changes. For example, if your eyesight has changed, your new driving licence may stipulate that you must wear glasses or contact lenses when you drive. If you do not do this, you could end up with a significant fine.
Furthermore, any vehicles that you were licensed to drive will need to be added to your renewed licence if you’re still driving over 70 and plan to continue using these vehicles. In addition to renewing a driving licence to drive a car, you will also need to fill out the correct forms or meet the criteria to allow you to carry on driving these other vehicles. For example, to drive a minibus you may need to complete a PCV medical, or only use it socially for no profit and with fewer than 16 people as passengers.
Medical Conditions and Driving Over 70
When it’s time to renew your driving licence over 70, you need to make sure you declare any medical conditions that could impact your ability to drive. Medical conditions that should be declared include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety and depression
- Congenital heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Motor neurone disease
There is a full and comprehensive list on the gov.uk website with further information on the guidelines for each medical condition. Declaring a medical condition does not mean you will not be allowed to drive, but if you fail to declare a medical condition you could end up with a fine or your licence revoked.
Driving Assessment for Elderly People
Some medical conditions can mean an impairment in the quality of your driving, and so the DVLA may request that you have your driving reassessed. A driving assessment for elderly people makes sure that they are still competent and safe to drive.
You do not need to be prompted by the DVLA to access a driving assessment for elderly people. You can also choose to have an assessment if you are still driving over 70 but are a little worried or anxious about your ability and would like some reassurance. There are two ways to access a driving assessment:
1. Local Driver Assessment Schemes
These provide a simple driving assessment for elderly people, as well as help and advice on how your driving can be improved. You can find a local driver assessment scheme near to you.
2. Mobility Centres
You may need to use a mobility centre for a driving assessment if a medical condition has resulted in a change in your mobility. Mobility centres can also offer help with adaptations for your vehicle. Staff at mobility centres are trained to assess a driver’s suitability and needs for driving over 70.
If the DVLA has requested you take a driving assessment as part of renewing a driving licence, then they will usually pay for it. However, this can mean a long waiting period, so if you’re keen to continue driving over 70, it may be more efficient to pay for it yourself. You will also need to pay if you’re taking the reassessment voluntarily.
Refresher Driving Lessons for Elderly People
Whether you’ve been advised to take a reassessment by the DVLA, or you just want to refresh your driving knowledge and skills after a certain age, then you may want to consider refresher driving lessons for elderly people. You can find details of these refresher courses in a number of ways:
- Contact your local authority and speak to the road safety department, who should be able to advise of local driving instructors or courses
- The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and IAM Roadsmart have volunteer groups throughout the UK who help drivers advance or refresh their driving skills
- Local driving schools may have tutors who specialise in refresher driver lessons for elderly people
- If you are still employed, speak to your employer about finding a course, especially if your role involves any kind of driving
Worried About Driving Over 70?
It’s completely normal to feel a little more anxious or worried about driving over 70. There are many reasons you may feel you need refresher driving lessons, whether you’re renewing a driving licence or not.
Common concerns for anyone driving over 70 include:
- Reduced eyesight making driving harder
- New car technology can seem daunting
- Younger drivers may make you feel anxious on the road
- Ageing can mean slower reaction times
- Hearing loss means you may not hear other cars or a siren
- Memory loss can cause confusion
If any of these are troubling you, it could be worth visiting your GP to see if you are still safe to drive. You may even just need a refresher course or to upgrade to a more comfortable car.
What Age Do You Have to Stop Driving?
There is no definitive age at which you must stop driving. If you still feel safe and competent to do so and have no limiting medical conditions, then you do not need to stop driving. However, you do need to have kept up with renewing a driving licence every three years after you turn 70 for it to be legal for you to carry on driving over 70.
Stopping Driving Over 70
You may have been unable to renew your driving licence over 70 because of a medical condition, or you may have decided for yourself that it’s time to stop driving. It may even be the case that you are worried about an elderly person continuing to drive and want to help them make the transition. Sadly, there often comes a time when we have to stop driving for our own and other’s safety. This can be a big change, but could be looked at as a new chapter with new opportunities.
Giving up driving over 70 means you no longer have the cost of a car and the maintenance that comes with it. You can use an older person’s bus pass to get around or take more trips with family and friends. It may even give you more time to take up new hobbies, relax at home, or explore your local area more.
Alternatives to Driving Over 70
Stopping driving over 70 doesn’t have to mean the end of days out, shopping trips or exploration. In fact, it can mean you try new places and refresh your sense of adventure. Below are just a few of the ways you can get around if you’ve decided to stop driving.
Bus and Train and Coach Travel
From the age of 60, you can purchase an annual senior rail card for £30*, which gives you discounted rail travel across the UK. Travelling by train is a great way to get to new destinations in comfort, and you might find yourself enjoying some fun days out in the UK that had previously been too far to drive to.
Likewise, once you reach state pension age, you can apply for an older person’s bus pass. The handy pass gives you free travel on bus services and so is ideal for popping to the shops or to visit family locally. In some areas, you can add extra services like tram travel to your pass to open up even more opportunities for getting around.
If you’d rather travel by coach, then National Express offers a senior coach card for only £12.50*. There are some low priced midweek offers, as well as discounts on standard tickets.
*prices correct as of March 2023
Depending on where you live, there may be local schemes for older people. For example, London has a London Freedom Pass, which gives seniors free travel across London. In Manchester, you can call a Ring and Ride accessible minibus to take you anywhere within 6 miles of your home.
If you’ve taken the decision to stop driving over 70, then contact your local council to see if there are any schemes in place.
For more far flung trips, you could try organised trips and tours designed for seniors. Not only do these tours take you to holiday destinations and organise travel and accommodation, but they often arrange day trips as part of the package so you can really explore. You’ll also meet people just like you and make new friends along the way.
To help you get around local towns, be it for picking up some groceries or going to an appointment, you can hire mobility equipment from Shopmobility Centres around the UK. This is perfect for anyone who has stopped driving over 70 due to mobility issues, but doesn’t yet need a permanent solution. You can hire scooters or wheelchairs and, in some cases, you may be able to get them completely free of charge.
Now is the time to take advantage of any grandchildren who have started driving. Not only will you get to spend more time with them, but they can repay you for all the lifts you used to give them! Intergenerational friendships have many benefits for everyone, and you may even be introduced to some new favourite places thanks to the younger generation.
Staying active is important for all of us, and this is no different as we get older. Even just a short walk to the local park will give your joints and muscles a stretch and provide lovely fresh air. When you were driving, you might have chosen to get in the car, but once you stop driving over 70, you can make the most of your local surroundings. It might even be a good time to get a dog to join you on your walks.
Driving Over 70
As you can see, stopping driving over 70 doesn’t have to be as daunting as it might seem. Similarly, if you’re happy to continue driving, renewing a driving licence is straightforward and quick. You can also take a refresher driving course for added peace of mind. There are plenty of options when it comes to driving over 70, for finding alternative ways to do the things you’ve always done, and for enjoying new experiences.