DRIVERS over 75 are as safe as younger motorists, according to a study published today by an authoritative former government transport research laboratory.
The TRL research found the age group dealt with hazards better than other drivers, using their experience to compensate for some slower reaction times.
The study, commissioned by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, follows official figures which showed motorists over 70 made up just 6 per cent of driver casualties despite comprising 9 per cent of those behind the wheel.
The research showed the oldest motorists drove slower than younger ones and kept a larger space behind other vehicles.
However, they also stopped short of stop lines at junctions and did not look as often as other motorists before pulling out.
The report also found the driving performance of older drivers was not impaired by their poorer neck flexibility and eyesight than others.
TRL principal human factors researcher Nick Reed said: “This study for IAM using TRL’s DigiCar simulator revealed that in many of the driving scenarios tested, older drivers were typically as safe as their younger counterparts.
“It was notable that performance was more varied across the older participants - seemingly reflecting differences in the ageing process and highlighting how difficult it is to make judgements about driving ability based solely on age.
“It was pleasing to identify specific areas of concern for older drivers and perhaps to correct some common misconceptions about their driving ability.”