Spate of crashes in Stevenage sparks calls for reforms to driving licences for older motorists

An elderly driver crashed into The Chequers Pub on Thursday, May 12, where a wake was being held at

An elderly driver crashed into The Chequers Pub on Thursday, May 12, where a wake was being held at the time. - Credit: Archant

A spate of crashes in Stevenage involving elderly motorists have sparked fresh calls from the public for driving licence reforms.

The scene of the crash on the corner of Dovedale and Shephall Way. Picture: Claire Daly

The scene of the crash on the corner of Dovedale and Shephall Way. Picture: Claire Daly - Credit: Claire Daly

In the last three weeks there have been four incidents in town which have seen cars leave the road, three of which have involved elderly drivers.

The crashes occurred in Shephall Way, Magpie Crescent and Bragbury End – where a man in his 70s crashed into a pub during a wake after putting the car into drive instead of reverse.

“I think older drivers should be retested,” said Samantha Tuvey, whose mum lives in Shephall.

“My grandad still gets behind the wheel and he’s terrible. He has a medical condition and he shakes but he thinks he’s OK.

Police, ambulance and fire crews attend the smash on Shephall Way. Picture: Claire Daly

Police, ambulance and fire crews attend the smash on Shephall Way. Picture: Claire Daly - Credit: Claire Daly

“Old people think the road belongs to them and from my experience they make the road dangerous.”

Maria Coleman, from Shephall, said: “There are so many more cars on the road now compared to when they took the test.

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“It’s more of a challenge now but you can’t tell them, older people can be stubborn and they have their pride.”

The most recent crash was on Saturday, when a driver in their 80s crashed into the Woodlands View care home in Magpie Crescent.

Fire, police and ambulance crews all attended, with a hazardous area response team also called.

The driver was taken to the Lister Hospital with chest pain and three of the home’s residents were assessed by paramedics at the scene.

A structural engineer was also called to inspect the damage to the building.

A spokeswoman for the Bupa-run home said: “Two bedrooms were damaged. The people who live in those rooms were not there and the damage will be repaired.

“We’re glad no one at the home was hurt and we’d like to thank the emergency services for attending so promptly.”

Saturday’s crash followed an incident the day before when a woman in her 80s had to be cut from her car after she reversed through the fence of her driveway in Dovedale into the back garden of a house in Shephall Way.

“The DVLA should be able to do something about all this,” said Matt Long, who lives in Shephall Way.

“They’ve got enough money. They should retest older drivers for free.”

A DVLA spokeswoman said that age was not in itself a barrier to safe driving, and that drivers over 70 had to renew their licence every three years anyway.

“All motorists must ensure that they are medically fit to get behind the wheel, and notify DVLA when a condition develops or gets worse,” she said.

“Drivers over 70 have to renew their licence every three years and at that stage they are prompted to tell DVLA about any medical conditions which might affect their driving.”

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