Older motorhome owners will not be happy at a possible new system that could see medical practitioners bringing a premature end to their driving lives. The system would see doctors routinely report drivers who could be impaired by chronic illness, and supporters of the idea say the measures could cut accidents by as much as 45%.
Under the new system doctors would be encouraged to report patients with alcohol problems, epilepsy or uncontrolled high blood pressure if they thought the condition could affect their driving. The biggest cause of road accidents in the United Kingdom today is driver error or reaction. Loss of control by a driver is responsible for 34% of accidents while lack of judgement and a poor manoeuvring rank equal second with 12%. Investigations into fatal accidents show that around one fifth of them were attributed to drivers whose skills were impaired by medical conditions or excessive alcohol intake. There is no doubt it is a problem for motorhome insurance providers as well as motorhome owners. Unless the industry acts as one then providers who require more stringent medical assessments of their older customers may find themselves losing custom, because a survey of drivers found a considerable portion of them would avoid going to a doctor with a complaint if they thought it would end in them losing their driving licence.
The research team feel their advice would make the roads safer for everyone, including those with the dangerous conditions. They feel some motorists will take their condition more seriously and be more receptive to treatment if the alternative is to lose their driving licence. At the moment road accidents are such a widespread cause of damage that everybody pays, either through insurance premiums, or congested roadways, or the price of consumer goods. The report indicates that if doctors throughout the United Kingdom were to comply with the plan, yearly savings could total £40 million. Drivers would not be banned immediately; they would first receive a warning letter from the Government department responsible for overseeing the policy. The research team are currently drawing up a list of conditions that can adversely affect a driver’s capabilities and older drivers will just have to wait and see what happens when the idea is brought before Parliament.