Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Elderly drivers to undergo medicals

Published:Wednesday | August 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter

MOTORISTS WHO reach the age of 70 will have to provide a medical report to the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) to prove they are fit to continue driving.

The new proposal is outlined in Section 31(d) of the new Road Traffic Bill and states that in the case of an applicant who has attained the age of 70 years, he produces a medical report as described in section 27(2)(b) or (c) attesting that he is not suffering from any condition likely to make him a danger to himself and other users of the road.

Ludlow Powell, director at the ITA explained that the new introduction to the Bill currently being debated is a safety precaution and will prioritise vision.

"We have a lot of people at certain age where it is a challenge for them on the road; you want to make sure they are physically fit and mentally capable to maintain a driver's licence. That is why that requirement is there," Powell said. He said there are changes to the body as persons start to age, and so guidelines must be devised to foster safety.

"At certain age, the eyesight might go, and you may need glasses. There are certain changes that happen at certain ages. The priority will be on vision, and if they have any other ailments," he added.

According to statistics from the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Works, in 2010, 13 drivers between the ages of 61 and 70 were involved in road crashes while there were 85 in the 71 to 80 age group.

In 2011, 16 elderly drivers between the ages of 61 and 70 met in crashes with 67 being between the 71 and 80 years old group. In 2012, 36 drivers between the ages of 61 and 70 were involved in crashes with 234 being between 71 and 80.

In 2013, 38 drivers within the 61 to 70 age group were involved in crashes, while 234 were in the 71 to 80 age group. Statistics for 2014 are still outstanding.

sheldon.williams@gleanerjm.com