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Warning issued to more than 1.5 million motorists over 70 who may be driving illegally, according to a little-known law

By Tom Gibson | May 9, 2023


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Over 1.5m drivers could be breaking the law by not renewing their driving licence

Warning issued to more than 1.5 million motorists over 70 who may be driving illegally, according to a little-known law

Approximately 25% of drivers over the age of 70 – 1.5 million people - have failed to renew their driving licences according to a law that has been in place since 1976, which means they could face a £1,000 fine. 

These drivers are required to update their licence at the age of 70 and every three years after that. But many drivers are unaware of this rule, with one in five admitting they didn't know about it. 

The DVLA offers free licence renewal for drivers aged 70 or over, but many older motorists risk falling prey to copycat websites that charge a fee. 

A survey by Scrap Car Comparison suggests an estimated 1.5 million elderly drivers could be at risk of a £1.5bn combined total fine for failing to renew their licence. 

Half of those aged 70 to 80 reported taking at least four years to update their licence, and almost one in ten admitted to never renewing their licence after turning 70. 

More than three quarters of drivers over the age of 81 were unaware that they needed to renew their licence every three years to remain legally on the road.

David Kottaun, operations manager at Scrap Car Comparison said: 'It’s been a shock to discover that so many motorists are not renewing their licences following their 70th birthdays – and therefore leaving themselves no longer able to legally operate a vehicle, and at risk of receiving a big fine if caught.

'The DVLA should send drivers a D46P application form around 90 days before they turn 70 years old – however if you do not receive one through the post, paper copies of the form can be obtained from your local Post Office.

'Ultimately, the reason behind getting mature drivers to regularly renew their licence is to ensure the safety of the drivers themselves, and everyone else on the roads. 

'The renewal process is quick, easy and motorists can continue to drive while their licence is being renewed as long as: they have the support of their doctor to continue driving, had a valid licence and their last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons – so there is no excuse to not be regularly renewing this documentation.' 

Age UK explains that people can still drive while they are waiting for their new licence. 

It says: 'When you reach the age of 70, your driving licence expires – but this doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop driving. If you want to continue, you just need to renew your licence. You'll need to renew it every three years after that. Renewal is free of charge.'

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