Bus deregulation drove more older people onto the roads

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From: JW Smith, Sutton-on-Sea.

I REALLY enjoy the contribution by Jayne Dowle and usually find agreement with them, but I fear she has simply jumped on a bandwagon in her article on older drivers (Yorkshire Post, March 15).

Firstly, she repeats the recently produced puerile statistics comparing 1970 with the present day, then goes on to mention the fear of losing her parents in a car accident and that we should adopt a realistic attitude towards older drivers. She also admits to breaking a 30mph limit and cites the case of a driver misjudging the speed of a lorry on the motorway.

In 1970 the life expectancy was still three score years and ten and, more often than not, if you reached that age you were indeed old. People now though in their 80s and even many in their 90s are much more alert and active today.

Until Mrs Thatcher deregulated buses in the mid-80s, there were always plenty of buses to take people to town, but also most villages and small towns were able to supply every need of residents as this was before the proliferation of supermarkets and out of town shopping areas.

This deregulation left practically every rural area devoid of buses, so increased car usage became inevitable.

The statistics show a 45 per cent increase in drivers over 60 between 1970 and 2010 which is ridiculously low in relation to the increase in the rate for cars over the same period. I would guess this to be something in the region of 1,000 per cent.

As far as accidents are concerned, these can happen to anyone of any age and in the case of the couple who died in their 80s in a motorway accident, I respectfully suggest that as neither survived, no one can say for certain that it was because the driver misjudged the speed of an oncoming lorry.

I suspect that most of the people breaking speed limits are well short of pension age and an interesting exercise would be to compare the number of drivers with penalty points between the “wrinklies” and the rest. If all the perpetrators were caught the gap in this measure would be off the scale.

Finally, if older drivers are such a risk, why do insurance companies favour drivers in the 50-plus age bracket?

From: Bill Heppell, Rawcliffe Lane, York.

I GET tired of articles by the likes of Jayne Dowle who use specious arguments to get older drivers off the road by requiring those over a certain age (60?) to be tested on their abilities.

In my 90th year, I naturally resent this. I was taught to drive in 1942 in the Royal Armoured Corps at Catterick – motor cycles, vans, lorries, small tanks and then big tanks. I have driven ever since with only one accident when a young southern farmer, in a hurry to catch up with his mates on the way to Scotland, ran into the back of my car on the A1.

The other day I saw in my mirror that I was being followed for over a mile, through three sets of traffic lights, by a young woman with children aboard, driving one-handed while she chatted on a mobile phone. This is the irresponsible driver who should be off the road, not careful, experienced oldies like me.

Perhaps Jayne Dowle could start a campaign to get drivers to take the registration number of cars being driven by mobile phone users and give them to the police. Would they take any action?

From: Arthur Quarmby, Holme, Holmfirth.

BEFORE the L-plates for older drivers campaign acquires a head of steam, may we please see some evidence? I suspect that older drivers are probably the safest on the road, and cause the least number of accidents compared to the young or even the middle-aged. So if there is no problem, then there is nothing to fix.