A Donegal Senator has said that a proposal for drivers over 70 to undergo refresher courses should not see the light of day.
Senator Niall Blaney has slammed European Commission plans that drivers over 70 may have to have regular medical tests and refresher courses to renew their driving licence.
The measures, he said, would be “absolutely discriminatory on age-only grounds and would completely undermine the rights of older people”.
The Alone charity for older people has said that the right to drive should be based on ability not on age.
Speaking at a meeting of the Seanad Select Committee, Senator Blaney told Minister of State of European Affairs, Peter Burke: “Research suggests that older motorists are some of the most experienced drivers on our roads. A blanket measure such as the one proposed is the complete wrong way to approach this. Simply put, not everybody is the same and to suggest otherwise based on age is discriminatory.
Senator Blaney continued: “Implementing the measures proposed by the European Commission, such as regular medical tests and refresher courses, risks driving our most experienced drivers off the road. Screening older drivers would take mobility away from older people and increasingly place them in traffic poverty.”
In the Select Committee on Scrutiny of Draft EU-related Statutory Instruments, Senator Blaney expressed his hope that this proposal will never see the light of day at European level, adding that it was deeply insulting and would completely undermine the rights of older people.
He said: “There is a lot of misguided thinking about older drivers and I want to highlight that a blanket approach is completely the wrong way to go about this. The rights of older people cannot be taken away.”