More than a quarter (28%) of elderly drivers could face a hefty fine for failing to renew their licence every three years upon reaching the age of 70, a survey has found.
Based on a poll of 506 adults aged 65 and over, the vast majority (84%) are licence holders. Of those, 99% rate themselves as an average, good or excellent driver.
Direct Line Car Insurance, which commissioned the research, said despite this, 7% doubted their ability to read a number plate from 20 metres away. In addition, one in 10 has had an accident in the past five years.
Director of motor insurance, Gus Park said: "It's crucial that older motorists are aware of their obligations to renew their licence as they risk driving illegally if it expires."
The study also found that while 52% agreed that 70 was the right age for a standard licence to expire, a fifth (20%) felt it should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Some 17% felt 70 was too early. A further 3% said they should renew their application before that age whereas 6% felt it should not expire at all.
Park said that a motorist's licence would automatically expire at the age of 70 regardless of their health or ability to drive, adding:
"If an older motorist wants to continue to drive they must make a renewal application in advance, and continue to do so every three years from the age of 70 to ensure their insurance remains valid," he said.
"Even those who fail to do this accidentally can face a very hefty fine, which is a high price to pay when the renewal process for over 70s is free."