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Axe T-junctions for mini roundabouts 'so elderly can keep on driving'
T-junctions should be replaced by mini-roundabouts to make roads safer for older drivers, a report claims.
Ministers were told roads should be redesigned so they are more accessible for the country’s ageing population.
The Older Drivers Task Force called for T-junctions to be scrapped, as figures show over-75s are twice as likely to be killed than the average motorist while negotiating them.
Instead, it said mini-roundabouts should be installed – making it easier for pensioners to pull out into traffic.
The report said: ‘Given that the percentage of serious accidents at T-junctions increases significantly with age after 65, and that this does not happen at roundabouts, it would be worth studying the value of installing mini roundabouts at busy T-junctions with little or no change to the kerb lines.’
The Government backed report also called for the greater use of segregated slip roads on motorways and A roads, which would lead into a proper lane.
The change would mean older drivers no longer having to look over their shoulder when joining busy roads.
Other pensioner-friendly ideas included wider white lines in the middle of the road, more traffic lights at crossroad junctions, reflective backing on signs to make them more visible and larger lettering on road markings.
Experts warned that large numbers of pensioners were being put off driving by roads designed for ‘use by fit, middle-aged motorists’, which risked leaving them isolated because they could no longer visit family or friends.
The report, seen by The Times newspaper, said that 4.7million Britons aged 70 or over had a valid driving licence in 2014 – but that this was expected to rise to 8.5million over the next 20 years.
Andrew Jones, the roads minister, said the report ‘calls for action from a number of sectors, including government, and we will consider the recommendations carefully’.
The task force, which was created by the Road Safety Foundation and the insurer Ageas, with support from the government, also called for drivers to be given eye tests from the age of 60.
But it said that motorists should not be forced to renew their licence until they are 75. Currently this has to be done aged 70, a rule that has been unchanged for 50 years.
John Plowman, chairman of the task force, said: ‘People are living longer, healthier, more active lives, and driving longer.
‘The number of drivers over 85 will double to one million by 2025, many without access to public transport.
‘This influx of older drivers has important economic and social value but it also presents road safety risks if we don’t adapt. Getting to grips with these risks, without limiting the independence and freedoms of the elderly is an important policy challenge.’
Prior to the release of the report, he told The Daily Telegraph: ‘We want older drivers to stay driving for as long as possible, we don’t want to put them off.
‘The key point is that we are living longer and they are healthier. If you tell them to think about driving assessments they may well just give up driving which puts them at risk.
‘They lose the social contacts that they had, they are more likely to get depressed and isolated and put a greater burden on the care system.
'Older drivers are generally safer than others. [They] do appear quite high in the fatalities list because they are more fragile, but that is not because they are at fault.’