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Many people still believe that once you hit the age of 70 you’ll need to take another driving test in order to keep on driving, but this is not the case. In fact, once you’ve passed your driving test, providing you stay in good health, you can continue to drive without the need to renew your test.
What happens when I reach 70?
When you reach the age of 70, you driving licence will automatically expire. There is a myth that all drivers who wish to continue driving have to retake their driving test at this point in order to get a new licence and keep on driving but you in fact do not need to do this, ALL you have to do is renew your licence.
Renewing your licence
By law, when you reach the age of 70 you must renew your licence and then every three years after that. There is no governing body that decides if you are still fit to remain driving, whether you decide to renew your licence of not is totally up to you. Around 3 months before your 70th birthday, the DVLA should send you a D46P ‘Application for renewal of a driving licence’. You can either fill this is manually and return it by post or used the DVLA’s online service. There is no fee for renewal.
C1 and D1 entitlement
If you have a C1 or D1 entitlement which is for driving minibuses or towing vehicles, and you intend to renew this as well, you are required by the DVLA to enclose a D4 ‘medical examination report’ that will need be completed by a doctor in support of your application.
Keep a health watch
If you develop a medical condition or you have a condition that is worsening and could affect your ability to drive safely, you are required by law (no matter how old you are) to notify the DVLA. To find out which medical conditions are included, visit the DVLA website where you can refer to a leaflet entitled ‘What you need to know about driving licences.’ It is also worth noting that it is illegal to drive if you can’t read a number plate from 20.5 metres away. If you wear glasses, you must keep your prescription up to date for this reason.
A lot of older people took their driving test many years ago and therefore may well have developed some bad habits over the years. If a long period of time has passed since you took your test, it’s well worth considering if you think you are still a good driver or not? If you have any doubts, no matter what age you are, you have the option to book an Experienced Driver Assessment with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). It costs £35 and it is not considered a test, but an assessment by a RoSPA-qualified driver who will provide you with a report at the end of the session which advises you on any areas where you can improve your skills or driver more safely.
Trust your own instincts
As mentioned above, the decision to stop driving is entirely yours to make, however, if you find you are having trouble driving or you don’t feel as confident or safe behind the wheel, it may be worth reconsidering your choice, to make sure that you keep yourself and other road users as safe as possible.