New tests too tough?

07/05/2012

As my father aged my brother and I became increasingly concerned about his driving.

I raised it with my mother who quoted a friend of hers who had told her, “It takes both of us to drive these days.”

Knowing Dad was due to sit a driving test I rang the police and explained why we were concerned. The officer told me to let Dad’s GP know because failing a medical was often a kinder way to let an elderly person lose their licence than failing a test. But if he passed the medical I should phone again so the testing officer could be aware of our concerns.

I spoke to the GP who said he would keep that in mind but he was away when Dad went for the medical. The locum passed him and he’d sat and passed the driving test before I’d found out.

He then had three accidents over a period of a few weeks – fortunately without injuring anyone – and after the third voluntarily handed in his licence.

The driving test has been toughened since then and older drivers are finding it particularly difficult.

Does that mean it’s too tough?

Instant failure for forgetting to indicate does seem a bit harsh.

But while it’s easy for me to say when I’ve got decades to go before I’ll have to worry about sitting another test, the experience with my father, and some other elderly drivers, makes me think tougher tests than used to be the norm isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


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