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Is there a driving age limit in the UK?

If you’re nearing your golden years, you may be wondering if it’s legal for you to keep driving. Is there a driving age limit in the UK? How can you stay safe as an older driver? And what can you expect from your car insurance premium? Let’s take a look.

If you’re nearing your golden years, you may be wondering if it’s legal for you to keep driving. Is there a driving age limit in the UK? How can you stay safe as an older driver? And what can you expect from your car insurance premium? Let’s take a look.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
24 APRIL 2023
7 min read
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Is there an upper age limit for driving in the UK?

No, there’s currently no upper age limit for driving in the UK. You can continue to drive into your 70s, 80s and even 90s – and beyond – so long as you don’t have medical conditions that affect your ability to drive safely and you’re not currently disqualified.

However, once you reach the age of 70, your licence will expire and you’ll have to renew it if you want to continue driving. You’ll also need to have it renewed every three years from that point until you decide to hang up your car keys for good.

If you want to keep driving after 70, you’re certainly not alone. In 2020, the DVLA reported that there were around 5.6 million older drivers aged 70 or over, with a full driving licence in Great Britain.

How do I renew my driving licence when I’m over 70?

About three months before your 70th birthday, you’ll get a D46P application form from the DVLA – or the DVA in Northern Ireland. You can complete this form and apply by post or you can choose to apply online.

To apply online, you’ll need to register to use the GOV.UK service. To do this you’ll need:

  • An email address
  • Your address history for the last three years
  • Your national insurance number (if you know it)
  • A valid UK passport number (if you want to change the photo).

If you’re applying by post, the licence renewal process will vary depending on whether you own a paper or photocard licence:

  • If you have a paper licence, you’ll need to complete the form and submit it with a new passport photo.
  • If you already have a photocard licence, you’ll have to submit that along with the completed form – in some cases you may need to send a new passport photo. Just be sure to double check the instructions.

Do I have to declare any medical conditions when I renew my licence?

Yes, when you apply to renew your licence over 70, you’ll be asked to complete a medical declaration detailing any medical conditions you have that could affect your ability to drive safely. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Fainting
  • Diabetes (if you’re taking insulin)
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Some heart conditions including atrial fibrillation and pacemakers
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.

Check the A-Z list of conditions on GOV.UK

Report a health condition that affects your driving to the DVLA

You’ll also need to confirm that your eyesight is good enough to satisfy driving eyesight rules. Answer all questions about your health honestly – failing to disclose a notifiable medical condition is a serious offence.

How much will it cost to renew my licence?

Drivers over 70 can renew their licence free of charge.

Do I need to go to the DVLA to renew my licence?

No, you can’t go to the DVLA in person to renew your licence. The DVLA has closed its local offices and no longer offers in-person services. You can do it by post or online. If you want to renew your licence online, you can do so on the GOV.UK website and you’ll normally receive your new licence within one week.

Am I allowed to drive while my licence is being renewed?

You can drive while your licence is being renewed, but only under certain conditions:

  • You’ve been given the okay to drive by your doctor
  • You must have had a valid licence
  • You only drive under the conditions of your previous licence
  • You applied to renew your application within the last year.

Of course, you can’t drive if your licence was revoked or refused for medical reasons, or you’ve been disqualified from driving.

How to stay safe as an older driver 

You may have learned to drive last century, but that doesn’t mean you’re an unsafe driver. However, there are a few extra safety considerations to bear in mind:

  • Get regular eye tests. You should get your eyesight checked every two years as a minimum but go immediately if you notice any change in your vision.
  • Check your hearing. If you have difficulty hearing, you may not hear horns or sirens.
  • Speak to your GP if you have any health conditions you think might impact your ability to drive safely or if driving is causing you any physical pain.
  • Plan out journeys ahead of time. Work out your route in advance and plan plenty of stops to break up long journeys.
  • Keep up to date with the Highway Code – make sure you understand recent changes to protect yourself and other road users.
  • Avoid driving at night, especially if you have trouble with your vision in low light or it makes you feel stressed.
  • Don’t drive if you feel tired. Don’t drive at times when you tend to feel drowsy, such as in the late afternoons, and be careful with any new medications.
  • Avoid distractions. Turn your phone on silent and avoid distracting conversations or loud music.
  • Avoid driving in bad weather if you can.
  • Avoid driving at busy times. One of the benefits of being retired is not having to travel in rush hour, so take full advantage.
  • Keep your confidence. Take your car out for a spin every now and then to stay in practice.
  • Modify your car if physical pain or stiffness are getting in the way of you driving and apply for a blue badge to get accessible parking if you have any trouble walking.

When should I stop driving?

When some conditions are diagnosed, you must stop driving straight away. If that doesn’t apply then it’s up to you and your doctor to decide. It may be time to think about alternative transport if your reactions are starting to slow. A health condition that might impact your driving ability, degenerating eyesight or finding driving increasingly stressful could also be reasons to stop.

Retiring from driving is a big step and it can often be quite an emotional decision, so it’s important to be prepared. If you think the time to quit is drawing near, speak to your family and friends and start looking into alternative transport arrangements that will help you keep your independence.

What is an Experienced Driver Assessment (EDA) and who is it for? 

If you or your loved ones have any concerns about you continuing to drive – or you just want to prove that you’ve still got it – you may choose to take an Experienced Driver Assessment (EDA).

EDAs are designed for drivers over the age of 65 to help boost driving skills and confidence. They also identify any areas that could be improved to make you a safer driver. EDAs are offered by charities such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and IAM RoadSmart, as well as local authorities, normally for a small fee.

There are two types of EDA available:

  • In-depth assessments for those with a medical condition or disability that could affect their driving, run by the Driving Mobility Organisation.
  • Standard refresher courses to help older drivers improve their driving skills and feel confident on the road.

What does an EDA involve?

If you take a standard EDA, an assessor will normally join you for about an hour for a drive in your own car, on roads near your home that you’ll be familiar with.

It’s not a pass or fail test, it’s an informal, confidential assessment for your own peace of mind. At the end of the assessment, you’ll get a report detailing how you’ve done and advice on areas you can improve upon, perhaps through further training.

If you, the DVLA or your GP decide a Driving Mobility assessment is necessary, you’ll be assessed by a specially trained instructor in a car with dual controls.

They will determine how your medical condition, disability or physical impairment is affecting your ability to stay safe on the roads. Ultimately, they’ll decide if it’s safe for you to continue to drive. They can also recommend any car adaptations you might need to drive safely and comfortably.

Do older drivers pay higher premiums for car insurance?

Drivers over the age of 70 may find they’re quoted higher premiums than those in their 60s. They’ll usually pay less than young drivers, though. 

How can I save money on car insurance if I’m over the age of 70?

The secret is to shop around and compare. Here at Comparethemarket, we can gather quotes from a wide range of car insurance providers in the UK, on your behalf. Why not give it a try? It could be the easiest way to see if you can save.

Looking for a car insurance quote?

Compare car insurance quotes with us today and see if you could start saving.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I renew my licence before I turn 70?

Yes, you can get the ball rolling up to three months before your 70th birthday, but no sooner.

What if the DVLA hasn’t sent me the D46P application form?

You can visit the post office and get a D1 form instead or order one online. You can also apply to renew your licence online on the GOV.UK website and skip the paper form altogether.

Are older drivers more likely to have accidents?

According to data from the Department for Transport from 2020, the rate of collisions per number of miles travelled does start to increase for car drivers over the age of 75.

However, drivers aged 71-75 had the lowest rate of collisions per miles travelled. Drivers in the 71-75 age bracket were involved in 211 collisions, per billion miles travelled, compared to 1,384 collisions for drivers aged 17-24.

Between the ages of 75-86 the rate of collision starts to increase, eventually surpassing the rate for the youngest drivers when it comes to drivers aged 86 and over.

Do I need to have a medical exam before I renew my licence at 70?

You don’t need necessarily need to get a medical check-up before you renew your licence at 70 – but if you have any notifiable medical conditions, you may need to get a medical report from your GP to prove that it’s safe for you to drive.

If you have any health concerns at all, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. They are best placed to access your fitness to drive. Remember, you’re legally required to notify the DVLA of any medical conditions that can affect your ability to drive.

Do I need to take an eye test before I renew my licence at 70?

When you renew your licence, you’ll need to confirm that you meet the eyesight regulations for safe driving. Although you won’t need to do this specifically for the licence renewal, it’s a good idea to have your eyes tested every two years, so it’s as good a time as any.

Will I need to retake my test when I turn 70?

Normally no, you won’t need to take a test to renew your licence when you turn 70, but if you have a medical condition that might affect your ability to drive safely, the DVLA may ask you to take an assessment through a local Mobility Centre or your local authority to prove you’re fit to be on the road.

Is there an upper age limit for learning to drive in the UK?

No, you can learn to drive at any age, once you’re over 17 (or in some cases 16). There’s nothing to stop you from taking your theory test and practical driving test over the age of 70 if you choose.

If you do pass your driving test and get your driving licence in your 70s, you’ll just have to renew it every three years to stay on the right side of the law.

Read our guide to learning to drive as an older driver.

Is there an age limit for driving a motorhome?

No, there’s no driving licence age limit for motorhomes in the UK, just like there’s no upper car driving age limit. So long as you have a valid UK driving licence that covers you to drive a motorhome, you can continue to drive until you and your doctor decide it’s no longer safe.

Bear in mind that you’ll need a C-class driving licence to drive motorhomes with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of over 7.5 tonnes, or a C1-class driving licence if your motorhome has a MAM of 3.5-7.5 tonnes.

When you apply to renew your licence over 70, make sure you apply to renew all the vehicle classes you want to keep driving.

Read our guide to motorhome insurance.

What’s the maximum age to drive an HGV?

Technically there’s no maximum age limit for HGV licences in the UK. However, once you turn 65, you’ll need to renew your HGV driving licence every year. Although there’s no age limit for truck driving, the rules for licensing do get stricter as you get older.

Before you turn 65, you need to renew your HGV driving licence every five years. But from the age of 45, you’ll need to submit a medical examination report along with your application. Your doctor will need to complete the form, and you may need an optician or optometrist to complete the vision assessment section. Your doctor and optician can charge you for this service.

You’ll also need to do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive a lorry, bus or coach too.

Is there an age limit to hire a car?

There’s no legal upper age limit for car rental in the UK, but some car rental companies will set their own maximum age limit. This upper age limit tends to range from 69-99.

Many car rental companies in the UK and Europe will still rent to drivers well into their 70s and even 80s, but they might charge a ‘senior driver’ surcharge to drivers over a specified age.

Read our guide to car rental abroad.

Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rory Reid - car and technology expert

Rory Reid is a car and technology expert. He serves as the main presenter on Auto Trader’s YouTube channel and was previously a host on BBC Top Gear and its sister show Extra Gear. He is also a presenter on Fifth Gear. Previously, he hosted Sky TV’s Gadget Geeks, CNET’s Car Tech channel, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition and on the YouTube channel Fast, Furious & Funny.

Learn more about Rory

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