Fitness to drive assessments for the over 70’s introduced in North Wales

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Working in partnership with North Wales Police, the North Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service is championing the programme set to support motorists over the age of 70 to drive more safely through education and engagement.

The scheme, which is already a success in many other parts of the UK, has now been set up in North Wales as a trial which aims to help motorists to stay safe behind the wheel.

Working with drivers referred into the service by the police, the scheme, based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, will support people who have been involved in a collision as an alternative to being prosecuted and fined.

When the client arrives at the centre, they will receive a 20-minute interview – looking at their driving history and any health conditions that could impact their driving, as well as their physical and cognitive ability.

They will be given an eyesight test before heading out for a 45 minute to one hour drive. Whilst on the assessment, an Occupational Therapist and an Approved Driving Instructor will analyse their driving ability. Once they arrive back at the centre, they will be given honest feedback before the service submits a report to North Wales Police.

This report will determine whether the driver is safe to continue driving, if the driver requires further skills training, or is deemed to be no longer safe and therefore must stop driving indefinitely.

If the recommendation is to stop, the findings are compiled with the police’s initial incident report and sent to the DVLA, which them makes a final licencing decision.

​Inspector Iwan Roberts of North Wales Police’ Roads Crime Unit said: “This scheme is just one of the initiatives we have to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the roads and is an excellent example of joint agency and partnership working.

“I must stress that this is not a driving test, but merely an assessment to help individuals to keep driving safely. The scheme will provide a vital choice for older drivers who wish to replace potential prosecution, points or a fine, with a positive alternative.”

Speaking about the partnership, Gary Jones of the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service said: “We’re incredibly pleased to be working with North Wales Police on this pilot scheme to ensure that all road users remain safe on the roads.

“This positive approach assesses, educates and supports people to remain driving safer for longer as we understand the huge impact that ceasing driving can have on people’s lives – we are here to help confirm a driver’s fitness to continue driving and also to support them find alternative options available so they can retain their independence, if driving is no longer safely possible.”

 

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