‘Common sense’ needed on elderly driver rules, says West Norfolk MP

Station Road Junction (right of picture) on the A17 at Terrington St Clement ANL-150620-114335009
Station Road Junction (right of picture) on the A17 at Terrington St Clement ANL-150620-114335009
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But North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has called for more warning signs to be installed around a junction where a motorcyclist died last October.

Last Friday, 85-year-old Raymond Crome admitted causing the death of Steven Moulton by driving without due care and attention on the A17 at its junction with Station Road, Terrington St Clement.

After the case, Mr Moulton’s family and road safety charity Brake called for tighter rules to ensure elderly drivers were fit to be behind the wheel.

But, while he described the case as a “tragedy”, Mr Bellingham said “common sense” should determine whether older drivers are on the roads or not.

He said: “There are a lot of people driving in their 80s and 90s. My mother is 89 and she’s a very safe driver. They’re much safer than young drivers pushing their cars to the limits.”

Currently, motorists who are aged 70 and over have to apply to renew their driving licences every three years.

But it is up to them to declare any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive, rather than an independent assessment being carried out.

Mr Bellingham said he accepted there was an issue with how older people’s fitness to drive is assessed and suggested that Gps may have to do more to help ensure their older patients can stay safe on the roads.

But he fears that stricter rules could put additional pressure on social services to help elderly people get around.

He said the right balance needed to be struck and the importance of the car in rural areas needed to be recognised.

Mr Moulton’s death also sparked a renewed debate about the safety of the junction, including calls for a 40 mile per hour speed limit to be introduced around it.

Earlier this year, former borough councillor Peter Cousins led calls for a 40 mile per hour speed limit, enforced by speed cameras, around the junction.

Although county roads chiefs said such a measure was unlikely to be effective, Mr Bellingham believes there may be arguments in its favour.

He vowed he and his South West Norfolk counterpart Elizabeth Truss would be keeping up the pressure for action.

He said: “It is a dangerous junction. There’s no doubt about that. That junction is in my sights and Elizabeth’s sights. There needs to be more signs.”