FINE Gael Cork South West Deputy, Noel Harrington, has called for the age limit, in respect of the requirement to undergo a medical assessment to renew a driving licence, to be raised from 70 to 72 to bring it in line with increased life expectancy and an increase in the retirement age. Deputy Harrington was speaking in the Dáil on Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Bill 2012
“The simple truth is that people are living longer and this is reflected in the decision to raise the retirement age on an incremental basis over the coming years. It is with this in mind that I am calling for the age whereby drivers must undergo a medical assessment to renew a driving licence, to be increased from 70 to the higher age of 72.
“People are living longer and healthier lives and as a result we have seen the age at which people qualify for the State pension increasing over time, with eligibility increasing to 66 years of age in 2014, 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. If the common sense thread is followed through, there is no reason why the age for medical assessment for a driving licence cannot be similarly raised in recognition of an enhancement in well-being in later years.
“The guidelines for things like the pension and the driving license were set down at a time when life expectancy for men and women was much reduced. With medical advancements and a more conscientious approach to our health, people are living longer. Life expectancy is thought to now be around 76 for men and 81 for women, with this set to increase over the longer term.
“Seventy years of age is, in my opinion, too young a ceiling for this provision. Fifty is not what it once was, nor is 60 and nor is 70. I am calling for the age limit in this regard to be raised in line with developments we are making in other areas. It makes sense.”