Road Safety News

IAM launches assessment for older drivers

Thursday 26th June 2014

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is launching its Mature Driver’s Assessment, which it describes as “a way for older drivers to gain a trusted second opinion on their driving”.

The assessment, which is available for motorists aged over 70 years and costs £35, also includes advice on what action, if any, the driver needs to take.

The assessment is not a formal test, but a 60-minute drive with an IAM-approved assessor. Candidates drive in their own vehicle on routes with which they are familiar.  At the end of the assessment, they are given immediate feedback and a confidential written report. 

A certificate is given to those judged ‘excellent’ or ‘competent’ or for others there is advice that their driving needs to improve.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “This assessment helps keep older people driving for as long as it is safe to do so.

“It’s worth remembering that many older people actually give up too early, simply because they lack confidence.

“It also gives elderly drivers and their families the information they need so that they can choose the right time to give up driving.”



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I'm 78 years old and have been driving both cars and motorbikes since 1960, and though I've never had an accident, I got a tad fed up with people saying older drivers should be taken off the road. Really?

I don't know any drivers of my age who send texts on the move or answer phones - even hands free. That aside, I thought I should get the assurance that my driving is still up to scratch, and that I don't have 'delusions of adequacy' both as a reassurance to myself and to family members.

The 'no obligation' assessment was conducted or urban and rural roads and a motorway and went well. I could have left it at that, but I decided to take the IAM 'Roadsmart' Advanced Driving course, based on 33 'competencies' which are assessed on observed training drives, rated 1: 'commended' 2: 'satisfactory', 3: 'needs improvement'.

On my first drive I was rated '2' on nine aspects and 3 on the remaining 24. After nine training runs, this week I took and passed the IAM Advance Driving test, which is based on 23 competencies. I was rated '1' on nine of them and '2' on the remaining 14.

The test is independently conducted by a serving police officer senior examiner and I received a full written report on all aspects of my driving. I'm not seeking to claim 'bragging rights', but there's no doubt in my mind that I'm a far safer driver than six months ago and what's more, driving isn't such a chore.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend both the mature driver assessment and the IAM 'Roadsmart' Advance Driving Course and test.
David, East Yorkshire

Agree (10) | Disagree (0)

Who decided older drivers have a skills deficit? From all those organisations that offer driving assessments how many of the assessors are qualified to recognise the early onset of neurological disorders or vision related issues? There is more than enough stereotyping and stigma in the road safety industry, are we sure we are not simply adding to it?
Chris Harrison Gloucestershire

Agree (8) | Disagree (23)

I think that this is an excellent scheme, many people worry about their older parents driving, which as close family member, might find a hard subject to discuss. Certainly it would make a good birthday/Xmas present, without the stigma of taking the moral high ground. But I totally agree with Idris Francis, as this could lead to people suspecting that they might be 'reported' to some government department.
Terry Hudson, Kent

Agree (12) | Disagree (1)

Many of those who most need help and advice may feel reluctant to take this test, for fear of what the assessor might decide. I see the report is "confidential" but will it always be so? And how dangerous would driving have to be for the assessor to think that his duty to other road users takes priority over his duty of confidentiality?

Good scheme of course, but problematical for some?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

At a recent pan London meeting with TfL's behaviour change team we were somewhat surprised they they referred to older drivers as 25 plus. Yes 25 plus. I can only assume that their "logic" is that if one is not a young driver, 17 to 25, then one must be an older driver! I now have to accept that I am in the ancient driver category especially when driving the 2CV.
Peter Wilson Westminster

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

Numerous local authority road safety teams, the police and other organisations offer assessment rides for motorcyclists, including Bike Safe, IAM, RoSPA, Lancashire County Council and others around the country. There are also a number of commercial trainers who will provide an assessment on a fee paying basis. You can access your local road safety team or partnership through the contacts tab at the top of this page or use Google or go to - which is a national website accessing the local police schemes.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

I think this is a very positive initiative by the IAM. Older drivers can benefit from feedback without the pressure of a formal structured test. Dave asks a very valid question - I've no doubt that motorcyclists would benefit from an assessment like this.
Mark - Wiltshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (2)

Seems like a good initiative. Is it limited to older drivers and is it available for motorcyclists as well?
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

Many local authority road safety teams offer assessment and refresher drives to older drivers at modest or even no cost so there is every chance that you will be able to access one of these services where you live. The SAGE scheme and the Grand Driver scheme are two that have been thoroughly researched and evaluated. It is important to help people to stay independent and mobile for as long as they safely can.

If you are lucky enough to live in North Yorkshire, go to or ring 01609 532616 for more information of how to register for a free of charge refresher drive with a specially trained local driving instructor.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

Something positive for the increasing number of elderly drivers. I have always suggested that an assessment take place rather than a driving test proper as just the thought of such a test could be detrimental to some. Basically we just need to know that they are capable and safe. This initiative with the IAM will enable worried drivers of what may lie ahead should the government decide to do some form of retest or assessment.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (24) | Disagree (0)