There are several confusions and myths surrounding driving licenses in the United Kingdom, and this article will discuss widespread misunderstandings related to driving tests and licenses. Still, first, we will share with your essential information regarding driving tests and licenses, which might come in handy whether you are seeking a new license or revalidating your existing one. There are many things that can disqualify you from driving, but being 70 is not one of them.
Driving Requirements in the United Kingdom
If you are a UK resident and you want to drive, then you must comply with the following:
- You must have a valid driving license.
- You must fulfil the condition of minimum age for driving. If you are a beginner/learner, you need a provisional driving license and can request one if you are older than 15 years and nine months. A provisional license would allow you to learn to drive. The eligible age for driving without supervision is 17.
- You must meet the minimum eyesight rules. Some standards include the ability to read a car number plate from a distance of 20 meters. You also need a certificate from an eye specialist, and your eyesight acuity should be at least 6/12 or 0.5
- If you are a learner, you must be accompanied by a qualified driver, except if you are riding a motorcycle.
- You must display L plates if you are a learner. You can use both an L plate or a D plate in Wales. The L or D should be in red and have a white background. The plate should be of the correct size.
- Your vehicle must have a valid DVLA registration.
- You should have paid the vehicle tax.
- Your vehicle should have a valid MOT certificate which proves that your vehicle complies with safety & environmental standards. The MOT test must be taken within three years of registration or the last MOT.
- Your vehicle should be safe to drive. You must perform certain safety checks before driving.
- A conviction for a criminal offence, including violence, indecency, and dishonesty
- Conviction of an offence or non-compliance under “the provisions of the Town Police Clauses Act” or “The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.”
- Town Police Clauses Act
- If, within the last three years, you have twelve or more penalty points, disqualification can last up to six months.
- The disqualification can last 12 months if this is your second disqualification within the last three years.
- The disqualification period can be two years if this is your third disqualification within the last three years.
If your disqualification period is 56 days or higher, you must apply for a new license before driving again. You may also be asked by the court to take an extended or complete driving test. If your disqualification period is less than 56 days, you don’t have to apply for a new license, but you also cannot drive before the disqualification period ends.
In that case, you will be treated as a new applicant, and you will have to go through the entire process of a new license. You will first apply for a provisional license and only be able to drive when your ban period has been completed.
How Can You Get a New License?
- The DVLA should ideally send you a reminder before the end of your disqualification. Usually, this period is 56 days. If you do not get any reminders, you can get the form yourself. For a car and motorcycle license, you need form D1, while for a bus or lorry license, you need form D2.
- Take the required test as advised by the court. If the court has asked you to take an extended test, please note that it is 60 minutes long and costs more than traditional tests.
- If you pass the test, request the examiner to send you your license when ready.
When you receive it, you can legally drive your car or motorcycle.
Does Your License Become Invalid When You Turn 70?
This is a common myth regarding driving licenses, and you will hear this too often. Let us reassure you that this is only a misunderstanding. Your license does not lose its validity when you turn 70, and you do not need to retake your driving test even when you turn 90. The latest research by the “Department for Transport Statistics” shows that out of the total accidents reported in 2015, only 5.95 % were drivers older than 70. This can be attributed to driving experience and the fact that older drivers tend to be more careful. However, you are your best judge. If you believe you have a health condition that prevents you from driving properly and it may pose a threat to you or others, then you should stop driving. The only legal requirement for 70 year old drivers is to notify the DVLA of any medical condition that prevents them from driving. It should be noted that as of 2017, the number of British drivers over 70 reached 4.5 million, while those above 90 were numbered 100,000.
Do Drivers Above 70 Have to Retake the Driving Test?
The answer is ‘No’. However, if you have reached the age of 70, you have to reapply for your driving licence and from there onwards after every three years. You will not have to take a test, but you will submit a declaration that you are healthy and fit to drive. You will also have to submit a certificate for your eyesight. A more detailed medical examination will be required if you are a minibus or a goods delivery driver.
What is the Procedure for Renewing Your License When You Turn 70?
- The DVLA should automatically send the D46P/renewal form three months before your 70th birthday.
- The form should be filled out correctly and resubmitted to them.
- Using your Government Gateway ID, you can also use the government’s website for license renewal. There is no renewal fee.
- If you choose not to renew your driving license after turning 70, your license will be cancelled, and you will be unqualified for driving.
Are You Fit to Drive?
The D46P form is more of a self-assessment. If a medical practitioner has already advised you to desist from driving, you should not apply for the renewal. This is for your safety and that of others. You can check the list of medical conditions which the DVLA considers dangerous for driving. You can check the list on their website.
If you are unaware of any such medical condition, we highly recommend getting a medical checkup to ensure that you are fit to drive.
Is There a Maximum Age for Allowing Driving?
There is no maximum age. You can drive for as long as you can, provided you are medically fit. It is your responsibility to be aware of your fitness and health. Ignoring medical realities can land you or others in trouble.