'We should not have to retake tests'

OLDER drivers have said they would lose their independence and freedom if they were not allowed to drive.  

Although he finds driving easy, Ken Warwick, 82, said if his doctor advised him to stop he would give up his licence. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 1332663)
Although he finds driving easy, Ken Warwick, 82, said if his doctor advised him to stop he would give up his licence. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 1332663)

OLDER drivers have said they would lose their independence and freedom if they were not allowed to drive.

The Guernsey Press spoke to an Age Concern group yesterday who felt that they should not have to retake their test in later life, although there have been calls for them to do so from driving instructors.

Many spoken to felt they were very capable of driving and would be housebound if they did not have a licence.

Ken Warwick, 82, said for now he found driving easy, but if his doctor advised him otherwise he would give up his licence.

Mary Castle, 86, said that when people reached the age of 70 they were given only a two-year licence and when that was up they had to have a medical with their doctor before they were issued another one.

Comments for: "'We should not have to retake tests'"

Devil's Advocate

The problem is that people don't realise when they're not safe anymore. I know someone that's recently stopped driving because they were reported to the police. They re-took their test (failed) and still think they're good enough, blaming their failure on using an unfamiliar car. The reality is that they steam through junctions that have changed in recent years and veer all over the road. Add to that having a new clutch every 6 months and you can see that they're better off off the roads. A car is the deadliest weapon most people will ever handle and usage needs to be controlled.


A doctor doesn't sit in the car with you to decide whether or not you are competent at driving any more, they just state whether you are medically fit to do so or not... so retesting with a driving examiner should be required


To be honest, with the general standard of driving I don't think it would be such a bad thing if we *all* had to retake our tests from time to time. Or at the very least, undertake an assessed drive which could lead to licences being revoked/additional training being required if felt necessary.


Mark i dont know how long you`ve been driving but if you re took your test tomorrow and passed do you really think you would start driving any differently the day after? Look at all the youngsters who i would imagine have just passed their tests then within weeks are belting round like lunatics (not all i must add).

The test just proves we can drive in the manner that the test dictates but i bet hardly any of us drive to that standard or with such discipline as soon as we have passed.

I do think there should be some sort of test for those who reach a certain age just to show they still have control and awareness and they have not become dangerous to themselves and the rest of the public.


Long enough ;-)

I understand what you're saying which is why an observed drive might be better rather than a 'test'. A little like the IAM assessed drives. As noted by Devil's Advocate we may not be so aware of the gradual decline in our own abilities.

Personally, I always try to learn something new and have read and try to practice the Roadcraft principles. Mostly to stay out of bother as the majority of it is safety driven.

At the end of the day, giving up a driving licence wouldn't necessarily mean giving up your freedom. My grandparents (mothers side) stopped driving in their 70's and got taxis or busses instead. It actually worked out better for their finances as well.


Yes i agree with your first paragraph.


I have some sympathy, and generally older drivers are probably ok and not as bad as people often make them out to be. But if you're not safe to drive then I don't give two hoots about your independence, you shouldn't be driving end of story. And you should be capable of driving at a reasonable standard at the speed limit, not just 15-20mph everywhere. I also wonder how trustworthy doctors are with the two year medical check ups - not very judging by some of the driving I've witnessed.

However, I also think young and old drivers get a bad press as driving standards are abysmal on this island across all ages.

No Sense

But if they are safe drivers, retaking there test should be easy and no removal of their license. If they are not road safe then the test will show this and there license removed for the safety of others.


In place of a full test, why not a driving assessment at age 65?

Even if somebody has been driving faultlessly since age 17, it's logical to presume that bad habits would develop over the 48 years without tuition and that some points might be forgotten altogether.


"Many spoken to felt they were very capable of driving and would be housebound if they did not have a licence." Surely if they are capable of driving they would pass the re-test and then still be driving or am I missing something??

Captain Courteous

Surely the loss of independence is beside the point; if your age is affecting your ability to drive safely then you must stop.

I have witnessed two incidents with older drivers involving themselves and stationary vehicles.

Luckily the vehicles they hit were just that, vehicles, I dread to think what the outcome would have been if a pedestrian or cyclist had been hit. I just hope that it doesn’t take somebody getting injured or worse before any action is taken.


It’s easy to say stop them driving, but how many of us would want our licences taken away when we get to 80 odd, I bet we’ll all say we’re fit to drive. My mother who is in her 80’s can no longer drive and it really has hit her independents hard, so I can see where they are coming from.

Are there any statistics to prove older drivers are dangerous drivers? We may moan about them but it’s usually because we are stuck behind them and are in a hurry to overtake.


This is "age discrimination" at its very worst!


it’s not it’s about safety


here we go again, the young jumping on the band wagon,the roads would be a lot safer if young mothers on the school run knew how to handle the big cars they drive.they may be capable of multi tasking but it would be nice if they kept to the job in hand instead of trying to park with a phone in one hand.the the worst thing is they tear around like there is no tomorrow,over shooting yellow lines and mounting pavements every time a car comes towards them but they do not slow down.lets start looking at all age groups then.not only the over 60s.


those of you who are calling for frequent driving tests will have to worry about keeping your hgv and job up to the new retirement age of 67.


This is not age discrimination it is common sense. I regularly see people driving towards me that are because of advancing years should not be driving, frequently driving to slowly in the middle of the road with no regard for other road users. There are of course many young drivers that should be retested.

I should point out that I to am an older driver, I still cover many thousands of miles in the UK and North America each year but would happily be tested.

If you are so sure you are safe it's not a problem.

I think loss of independence is preferable to killing or maiming someone.


I have had two incidents in car parks in less than one year where both drivers were elderly, one wrote off four cars and seriously damaged mine (no one was hurt luckily) and one didnt even realise he had driven into my range rover whilst my wife was actually in it, she hooted and then ran after him but he didn't even notice!

Drive behind lande du marche garage and you will see a large pile of small cars fondly used by the older motorists all smashed to bits!

I think that everyone should have to take at least a refresher test after every 15-20 years as bad habits do creep in.

I don't want to appear ageist but the vast majority of bad driving that I witness has an elderly person behind the wheel!

I don't think that a medical should fully decide as the last time I checked a doctor doesn't issue driving licenses!


Serves you right for driving a Range Rover in Guernsey ;)


Theres nothing wrong with 4x4s on this island! it could have been any car they hit!


and guernzee,i see young drivers pull into super market carparks across two marked lines and just leave the car as it is.


One of the hardest thing I have ever done was to take away the keys to my father's car. He had held a clean licence for a motor cycle and car for over 60 years and I assumed he was a good driver but when I saw him heading down a one-way the wrong way I knew I had to watch him closely. Following a week when my heart was in my mouth I took that hard decision and I don't think he ever forgave me. I know in reality that he wasn't a bad driver but he had lost the ability to make safe judgement calls and it was only a matter of time before he had an accident. Better safe than sorry but my action did cause him to change his whole way of life and at 86 that was a step too far; a year later he died. One annoying aspect to the sad affair was the attitude of the insurance company when I tried to cancel the remainder of his vehicle insurance policy. "You can't do that" they said, "we can only take that instruction from him personally". I pointed out that the onset of Alzhiemers made that difficult and that in any case he didn't want to give up his car! It took a lot of determination on my part to recover his £150 odd pounds but I refused to give up. Life can be so unfair to the old and infirm but common sense demands that sometimes their friends and relations have to make tough decisions on their behalf. I know when my turn comes I will fight tooth and nail to keep my car



I feel for you, having been through an almost identical scenario with my own father, who has also now passed away. However, I, and I'm sure you, know that I did the right thing to ensure both his safety and the safety of others. Doesn't make it any easier though.


Excellent post Watcher.


Here we go, blaming the old for poor driving

Anyone convicted of any driving offence should have to retake test and pass to get their licence back!

BTW a young male tailgated me all down Forest Road y'day and later a lassie in side lane was so busy mobile chatting not wanting to move on. Wow, that confused drivers backing up either side

So don't blame older drivers for bad driving

sarnia expat

I truly think that everyone who has a driving licence should retake them every two years. After all, we don't have an MOT over here either. i would also like to know from an insurer, exaclty what the ratio of accidents per capita, within the 18-25 and the 60-80 group are.


When you get to 75 the insurance company hike your premium wonder why!

Gives me something to look forward to in the next few years


I doubt we have enough testers for every 2 years!

sarnia expat

While we are at it - lets have all those yummy (?!!) mummies take some sort of intelligence test before they attempt to take the wheel of a Chelsea tractor. Some of the lady drivers taking Ophelia and Tarquin to school in the mornings leave a lot to be desired - and a large amount of these women apparently spend more time worrying about their facial grouting than the traffic.


IF the stats show that the current system is failing to keep our roads safe (being medically fit judged by their GP), THEN surely the current system can be tweaked to better serve the needs of the elderly? Perhaps whatever examination the GPs use can be revisited and made more thorough and stricter?

Retesting can be a stressful and costly process for anyone to go through (young or old) and who is going to pay for it? If an elderly person failed would they be able to be retested like anyone else who failed? And who will have the power to judge if they failed because of "old age" or because of a reason that anyone else would fail?

If we were to go down the retesting route then perhaps anyone who commits any accident (no matter how minor) or road traffic infringement say >twice in one year should be automatically retested regardless of age?


Safe? not until proper vehicle testing is introduced, where else can you drive an untested (MOT'd) vehicle, nowhere in the western world apart Jersey, this is a law in place for good reason, not as a cash cow, lots going on here about safety...we lets start with the vehicles before going on about the drivers??


Good point Dave- I agree.

Mrs Scrutiny

@ Dave,

Dave Beausire, the Motor Traders Association mouthpiece, I presume..............?


It would be blatant discrimination to purely pick on elderly drivers when there are good and bad drivers at every age group.

It's just that the Guernsey press seems to make more of an accident with an elderly person than if say a middleaged person is driving. If the powers to be decide there must be further tests then they must be for all. There are some dibolocal young drivers who should not be on the roads. So if we go down that route and I don't believe we should for a moment, then introduce the test for all, like someone said above every five years, unless someone has an obvious medical condition, in which case they would be taken off the roads anyway.

Lets not create another bureaucratic nightmare just for the sake of it.


lets look at the big picture.

my dad was by no means worthy of keeping a licence but every year he would see his gp. every year the gp would ask and test for what the law states.

it is this that requires changing. a camel could pass the gp's list.

anyone going to their gp like my dad isn't going to say they have had two clutches fitted in a year or one or two unreported fender benders. turkeys don't vote for xmas.

when you reach the retirement age it is reasonable to assume that is the age when one is deemed about right to cut back on responsibilities and hard work etc etc. better minds than mine have come up with this age limit. it is a fact of life that our bodies wear out and so does our mind. just like you can't argue the case to get a licence early even if you are a world class racing driver etc then why should we be arguing about holding on to one. if a professional tells me I can't do something anymore I believe him, or why go to him and pay him. government should make it compulsory to have a medical every year after official state retirement age, I will want to prove I should be on the roads safely and not just think I should be. be a pro-active government and not just pussy foot around the idea because some are moaning, it hasn't stopped you when dealing with states workers pay or giving yourselves a pay rise.

change the criteria the doctors look. failing that if you take a letter into the doctors with your relative and ask them to sign that they have allowed them to drive and clearly they are not worthy, but should they have a crash and injure some one else it is the doctors fault i'm sure it will be signed :-)


Funny how some people are always keen to stop someone else doing something. This is already regulated. The drivers who are unsafe are charged higher insurance premiums. Who pay the highest, the under 25s. And of these it would be males, but for the recent ruling on gender equality that makes females now pay the same.

So if the reason is safety then its the younger groups that should be investigated.

Terry Langlois

Jack - insurance premiums do not reflect the risk of an individual driver, they reflect the average risk of drivers of a particular category.

Under 25s will have been tested relatively recently. Maybe the nature of that test can change, but they are at least assessed in some way.

No-one is trying to stop old people from driving. The idea is to stop people who no longer have the physical or mental capacity for driving.

Yes there are unsafe drivers of all ages, but that has more to do with mindset, rather than ability, which unfortunately is rather more difficult to control.


Rubbish Terry,

The under 25's have the highest premiums because they are the most at risk of having an accident. This is why its ridiculous to pick on the elderly drivers. All drivers of all ages will have some good, some bad, some indifferent amongst them. The under 25's obviously, as far as the insurance are concerned offer more risk.


Good points Concerned about the Independance bit. The standard of driving over here is appalling, I don't know if it's because of the false sense of security with a relatively low speed limit but everywhere you look it is horrendous. This morning driving to work along the Coutanchez the guy in front was on the phone and the one behind was drinking a mug of something. I wouldn't walk or ride along our roads if you paid me.

Individuals driving around with fog lights on,they are meant to be switched on when fog restricts your vision to less than 100 metres, not to show off how many lights you have on your car. 90pc of people not knowing which lanes to use to enter/exit 'the roundabout'and yes Environment you are partly to blame here for a lack of clear signage. That stupid right indication people do when going straight across a crossroads eg at L'islet, driving too fast, or slow which in itself is considered poor, if not dangerous driving, the list is endless.

Going back to the Independance point with the elderly I am staggered at their shallow thoughts. There was a tragic accident in Chideock a few years back where a lady in her nineties drove slowly into the back of someone parked in the road unloading their shopping.The result, an innocent victim losing both legs and the elderly lady dying at the scene from a heart attack.

As Your shout always has that amusing Us and Them feel about it I was born here and have driven over here for over 35 years which really should be of no consequence whatsoever.Rant over, until I go along the Route des Capelles at 24 mph tomorrow !


Bloody hell you must be a right bundle of laughs to be in a car with :)

Island Wide Voting

Crikey 24MPH! Aren't there any cyclists in the Route des Capelles?


What a load of rot....should the vehicles not be tested before the drivers are allowed to drive them on the public highway? Once we have a decent test for the vehicles on our roads maybe then we can move onto talk or retesting drivers, this must make sense? If not then let people drive whatever they like how they like...oh! think we have that already, Time for proper testing / re-testing of vehicles and drivers???


Of course elderly people loose their independence when, or if their driving license goes and such a loss is going to result in a pretty major change to their lives,- for the worse.. And yet our overly dependent car culture has happened on their watch.... how many of them tried to prevent that situation from arising? How many of them were quite happy to ignore the obvious consequences of Guernsey, over the last 30/40 years, developing transport infrastructure that focused so heavily on enabling and encouraging car use and that treated bus users, pedestrians and cyclists as second class citizens? The prospect of losing ones independence along with your car keys is a situation that has been entirely foreseeable.... for decades.

We are all heading towards the day when we will have to give up driving. It would be much more intelligent if we all embraced a transport system that saw us all using our cars less and the alternatives more so that relinquishing our cars does not have to mean the end of our independence. Obviously for this to happen, we need greater investment in a bus service that actually does what it says on the tin.


I agree!!..... I can’t wait for the day there are less cars on the roads, that would mean I could get around the Island a llot quicker in one of my cars.


Exactly. Being car-dependent is not independence – it’s an unhealthy addiction that you will have to break from at some point, so why not now?



and what are you doing about it, its ok blaming the elderly but if you don't do something about it, then stop trying to pass the buck.



What have I been doing about it? I have been campaigning on this issue for many years alongside others from all age groups, including some elderly. But the vast vast majority of people of a 'certain age', while often admitting the negative effects of a community over-reliant on cars, are at the same time only too happy to ignore those problems in the belief that their personal convenience (& pleasure) out-weighs any consideration of future consequences. One of those consequences is being left high and dry when, for whatever reason, you can no longer drive. It's not rocket science..... it's just obvious and predictable and therefore cannot be used as an excuse to continue allowing someone to continue driving beyond when they are safe.


One of the things that shocks me every time I return to Guernsey is the standard of driving. What I find is the most unnerving is cars shooting out of junctions and gateways where they have no right of way. These drivers look and think 'Yeah, they've got time to brake' and off they go.


Toolbag, that happens quite a lot. Sometimes they don't look at all, quite confident there is nobody else using the road. But I don't think any particular age group does it more than any other. Young idiots, old idiots, not much to choose between them.


Very true and its a tad unsettling especially when you are on a two wheeler.

And don't forget what seems to be island mentality, that if you have an obstacle on your side of the road, its ok to swerve onto the wrong side of the road forcing the traffic coming the other way to brake.


Another thing is the standard of walking! Pretty much every weekday day I either drive or cycle past the junctions around Cambridge Park and Candie Cache and the amount of people who just step into the road to cross without looking is astounding.

The Candie Cache junction particularly is a blind corner when turning left from Candie Road into L'Hyvreuse Avenue. It's only a matter of time before someone gets hit.


Rosie will hang you out to dry for that Paul.


.....I'm more worried about Living Streets to be honest!


I agree PLP, it is very important to listen for cars - especially on roads without footpaths and the amount of people i see walking along with headphones veering out into the middle of the road is astounding- same goes for cyclists. I also often see cyclists on mobile phones and texting as they are riding- is this legal?


PLP. I am in total agreement that both cyclists and walkers need to be vigilant and attentive to traffic, but also that drivers should remember that their cars do not (or should not!) have more rights than human beings.

Maybe this area that you highlight would be a good location to be considered as a 'shared space' area. That way, uncertainty would be introduced so forcing everyone to be more wary and cautious of other road users, be they walking, cycling or driving.


Oh Dear

I very nearly got hit by a car yesterday. An elderly driver went straight through a red light as I was using the pedestrian crossing.


Hmmmmmmm. I trust you took down the number and reported it to the police?

Oh Dear

No, I just ignored it. Of course I reported it to the police.

Very funny bcb.


Bet it was a foreigner with a couple of nicked drain covers in the back rushing down to the docks.


Make them take a test at 65, 70, 75, then every 2 or 3 years after that. This shouldn't be too much of a problem for them as a) if they're competent drivers they should pass the test each time, b) they're retired so have more than enough time on their hands to take the tests, and c) they should be able to afford the fees due to the massive gains they've made on property over the years, high earnings during the boom times, having had free higher education etc etc.

If it's only £25 a test or something similar it will hardly break the bank, that's less than half a tank of petrol.


phil,high earnings during the boom years,yes,then your generation came along and wanted more and bought with them greed and it burst in 2008.as regards plenty of free time thats taken up looking after every one else but yourself,wait till you retire.


Blimey, what a grumpy old woman, you sound like the very worst kind of old person, one who doesn't realise how good you had it and who constantly moans about everything.


Well, I think she has a point. Unlike some of the more sensible and balanced posters you do come across as somebody who despises the elderly. Perhaps you have been blessed with eternal youth in addition to innate superiority?

Island Wide Voting

Whenever I read about the trials and tribulations of driving in Guernsey I find great solace in observing how little actual ( rather than perceived) traffic there is by watching the digimap web cams at ....



Digimap use the webcams set up around the island by Nest, who have kindly given us permission to use them too.

You'll find them here: http://www.thisisguernsey.com/web-cams/

Island Wide Voting


Just the occasional pigeon on top of the College brand new super duper multi thousand pound thoroughly deserved refrectory

PS The digimap site is better than the TIG site because there is a 'speed up' facility on digimap


At the top of the page it explains that if you click the link below each picture on our site you'll see the faster refresh.


...and talking of WUMming....the "super duper thoroughly deserved" refectory at the College IWV?!

What say you Sparty?! ;-)


Super duper? Infested with pigeons apparently ;-)


Strange how most of the webcams are pointing at traffic free places like Market Square, the harbours and airports, the beach and most impressive of all: The Field. Not at real hotspots like Admiral Park, the Bouet, the Rohais, the Grange, Trinity Square.

Island Wide Voting


I don't think the Nest cams were ever set up to be used as traffic monitors ... it's just handy that by chance some of them do show traffic movements .. the one on the Bridge being particularly useful

I mentioned in my recent Transport Strategy form that Environment might do well to consider siting cameras for public use on the main roads into/out of Town such as the Rohais ,Grange,Queen's Road,Charroterie,Bouet and Les Banques ( and perhaps one at Talbot Valley for Rosie to swoon over)


just looked at the webcams - nightmare gridlock!!!

Island Wide Voting

Well yes.There will always be some people who believe that half a dozen motorised vehicles in a row constitutes gridlock

They quite often turn out to be the impatient bad drivers


Doing this will only impinge upon the ability of older people to enjoy their family and private lives. WE CANNOT allow this to happen, to do so would be a contravention of their human rights - NO DEPUTY should allow this!!


STOP moaning you lot. Anyone ever been to Rome, Carnage !!!


You should try Hanoi - makes Rome look like a quiet Sunday drive!!


Everyone should have to take a driving test every six years. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis and it is ridiculous that one test should last for life.

I've seen many drivers of all ages through the years who in my opinion are just not capable drivers. Retaking the driving test at regular intervals is the best way to making sure that those on the roads are capable drivers.


Please, no more of this bureaucratic nonsense. Those suggesting more driving tests, MOT's, medical examinations etc.etc must really love paperwork for the sake of paperwork. What this island need is less bureaucracy and red tape and let people get on with their lives instead of trying to organise and control them into little boxes. Big brother is already with us, don't encourage him by suggesting more ways he can control our lives.

Island Wide Voting


No need if Rosie gets her way and floods the road with cyclists

The 20MPH speed limit around Baubigny would become quite a luxury



Why not just over-take these 'slow' cyclists that you keep moaning about? If the roads are as empty of cars as you repeatedly claim, overtaking safely shouldn't be a problem for you.

Island Wide Voting


I would overtake but I always have in mind that if a cyclist swerves into me as I did so I would automatically be at fault according to your preferred rule of the road

Mr misogynist

Most accidents are caused by young drivers and of course women. It would be a good thing to only let over thirties drive and women not at all.


hmmmm......well ignoring the obvious WUMming in the post and the huge amount of stereotyping and prejudice from Mr Misogynist this idea would decrease the amount of car traffic by 50% overnight.

What say you Rosie?! ;-)


Great idea best one yet but can we just allow them to use the car for the weekly shop? :)


In Australia, regular statistics prove that the worst drivers on the road are not the elderly, even though a large portion of drivers these days are pensioners. You never see a senior driving while slurping on a can of beer, or texting, or driving with one arm hanging out the side window, or totally engrossed in bonk a bonk music - and very rarely DUI!

The practice of driver testing begins at 85 though medical tests begin 5 years before that. Unfortunately, and obviously, the testers are younger people who, trying to justify their salaries, find fault sometimes where there really isn't any! A friend of mine on one of his yearly tests had a chance to take a quick glimpse at his results and saw:- 'Drives haphazardly around roundabouts'. How the hell do you do that?!

As for one-way-streets, everybody makes that mistake at some time in their driving careers by mistake. But I regularly see drivers doing so on a regular basis just to save about forty yards! AND THEY AREN'T SENIOR DRIVERS! -

Unless forty year olds are considered as being senior drivers. I am not trying to pick on younger drivers - most of them are excellent - but some bad drivers start young and never improve. In my opinion, one of your writers got it right - the only fair way is for EVERYBODY to take a driving test every five years. Getting back to older people - None of us want to injure anyone else on the roads, or cause any kind of accidents and we are extra careful (perhaps too much so) because of it, which is why so many of us give up driving willingly or are easily persuaded by relatives to relinquish our licences. Some day you too will grow old.....


Good post apart from the re testing every 5 years. It will be nothing more than driving in the correct manner for a short while whilst with the instructor then reverting back to driving in the same manner before the test.

Unless the is some valid reason for another test it would be a complete waste of time.

no one

To all you slightly younger drivers out there that think this is a good idea. Just remember any change will probably effect you younger drivers more than today's older drivers.

I will not comment on whether is is a good or bad idea, just to say my elderly father is coming to the end of his driving. I hope the decision comes on medical grounds rather tham from me. I appreciate that I maybe called a coward on this. But I am very close to my father and do not want to hurt him in anyway.

I admire those that have managed to stop very pld parents from driving.

Klaus Fluoride

It's about time we got rid of all cars on Guernsey roads & replaced them with electric vehicles. A lot safer & no-one can break the speed limit!

Obviously that would mean another black hole in government finances as motorists cease to burn any fuel & no-one gets done for speeding any more.


Alertness test are required to drive on these over populated roads.

The state of the roads tell you that more care is needed.

Alertness for congestion when cyclist zig zagging between motorist.3 abreast cycling of kids going to school.Motorist giving no warning signs when turning or stopping.

This is the price you pay for not controlling the islands population and allowing easy credit for being a car owner.