UK driving age limit – Driving after 70
Everybody talks about turning 17, when you can legally take to the roads and learn to drive – but just how long can you keep that up for?
The average UK life expectancy is continuously rising and, as a result, so is the average age of drivers on the road. Whereas years ago, many motorists would hang up their car keys in their 60s, it’s becoming increasingly more common for people to continue driving well into their 90s – in fact, Prince Charles was 94 when he drove then-President Barack Obama and first-lady Michelle Obama to lunch in 2016.
But do you have to renew a driving licence at 70? And are there any over 70 driving licence restrictions?
Here’s all you need to know about driving after the age of 70.
How old do you have to be to drive in the UK?
Starting from the very beginning, you have to be 17 years old before you start learning to drive in the UK – that age is reduced to 16 for those eligible for a ‘Higher Rate Mobility Component’.
So, you pass your test and take to the roads – but how long is it before you have to reassess your driving eligibility?
Driving age UK - Is there an age limit for driving in the UK?
The simple answer is no, there is no upper age limit (at least in the eyes of the law) for driving in the UK.
There are currently more than five million active driving licences for people aged over 70 in the UK, with the number of drivers over 80 closing in on two million.
The only restrictions for those aged over 70 come from car insurance providers, some of which will place a maximum age limit on cover. Whatever your age, though, you can guarantee that there will be a specialist provider willing to insure you.
Does a driving licence expire? Renewing a driving licence at 70
While a driving licence photocard needs renewing every 10 years, the licence itself does not expire until you turn 70.
Drivers over the age of 70 are required by law to renew their driving licence, and will have to do so every three years from this point onwards.
For those who might be asking: ‘do you have to retake your driving test at 70?’, the answer is no. The driving licence re-application process is simple, and does not require the driver to take part in a practical test or medical examination of any form – there is no such thing as an ‘old age driving test’.
How do I renew my driving licence at 70?
Up to 90 days before you turn 70, you will receive a letter from the DVLA – this will be your D46P application form, which can be filled in and sent away to renew your licence.
There is also an online service (which is much quicker) that can be used by signing into the gov.uk website. When applying for a new driving licence online, you will need to provide:
- An email address
- Your National Insurance number
- Your home address
- Your UK passport number (if you’d like to update your picture)
You can also renew your driving licence at 70 at the Post Office, where you’ll be able to pick up and fill out a D46P form.
Do you have to take a driving test at 80?
Contrary to what many people assume, you do not have to take any form of driving test once you turn 80 – if you have been renewing your licence every three years since your 70th birthday, your next renewal will be due just before you turn 82.
Car insurance for over 70s & car insurance for over 80s
While there are some insurers that might have a maximum age limit on car insurance, there are insurance specialists that will offer cover for people of all ages – but while insurance generally decreases with age, there comes a time where premiums will begin to peak again.
This is because, statistically speaking, drivers beyond a certain age are at higher risk of having an accident than those who are middle-aged.
A recent study from GoCompare found that more than a third of comprehensive car insurance policies have a maximum age limit of 80, making it difficult for healthy drivers above this threshold to find cover.
Fortunately, GoCompare also offers over 80s car insurance quotes from a range of specialist providers at competitive prices, taking the hassle of finding cover out of your hands.
You can get a quote for over 70s, over 80s and all other kinds of car insurance with GoCompare by clicking or tapping the button below.
Car insurance for elderly drivers – popular options
While price comparison sites like GoCompare, Confused.com and MoneySupermarket can provide you with a range of great car insurance quotes, there are a few insurers (particularly specialist ones) that are not on comparison sites. These include:
- Age Co (previously Age UK)
Your freedom to drive is almost entirely self-regulated, meaning that it is down to you and your loved ones to decide whether or not you are fit to drive on UK roads.
The important thing to remember is that you must remain honest with yourself, your family members, your insurer and the DVLA.
Giving up your right to drive may seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of alternatives – everyone over the age of 60 is entitled to free bus pass travel, while the cost of taxi fares won’t seem as expensive when you remove the cost of owning and running a car.