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Police call for elderly drivers to give up licence

06:00 06 May 2014

Archant

Sidmouth police are asking elderly drivers to consider their future behind the wheel after a 93-year-old reversed 40 feet before he could hit the brakes - damaging other vehicles.

PSCO Phil Thomas said the tourist mistook reverse for first gear and collided with three cars in Coburg Road before coming to a halt.

The incident took place by the tennis courts during half term and PCSO Thomas said it was lucky no one was injured.

“If kids had been cycling down the road, God knows what could have happened,” he said. “It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

He is asking older drivers to consider surrendering their licences if they are less able to react.

As an alternative, the officer suggested swapping an automatic gearbox for a manual, which would be more likely to stall if anything goes wrong.

The tourist’s VW Polo was ‘quite significantly’ damaged and the other three vehicles suffered minor damage. The man was treated by paramedics for shock.

Officers are applying to the DVLA to have his licence revoked rather than pressing charges.

Drivers over 70 have to renew their licence every three years and inform the DVLA of any conditions that may affect their driving.

The agency works with GPs and police to investigate suspected health problems.

Concerned relatives and neighbours can also intervene.

A DVLA spokesman said: “If we find evidence a driver does not meet the appropriate medical standard we immediately remove their entitlement to drive.

“Evidence does not show that older drivers are more likely to cause a serious accident than others and there are no plans to restrict licensing on the basis of the age of a driver.”

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