Driver attitude, old vs young

Age-old problem building resentment on UK roads

A gulf of intolerance is building between older and younger drivers, according to research from the AA Charitable Trust

A gulf of intolerance is building between older and younger drivers, according to research from the AA Charitable Trust

A gulf of intolerance is building between older and younger drivers, according to research from the AA Charitable Trust.

The research, launched to coincide with the trust being awarded a prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award on Tuesday (11/12/12), shows younger drivers think older drivers need retraining and older drivers think young drivers need retraining.

AA/Populus research* shows nearly all (92%) of young drivers (aged 18 – 24) think drivers aged 70 and over would benefit from refresher training, the highest of any age group. In fact, young drivers believe older drivers are as likely to benefit from refresher training as lapsed drivers (91%).

Similarly, 78% of drivers over 65 think young drivers would benefit from this type of training, compared to just two fifths of young drivers.

Other research** showed 17 % of 35-to-44 year olds would nominate their parents to take a driver improvement course. But, only 10 per cent of over 65’s think their adult son or daughter would nominate them to take such a course.

What we can say is that drivers in each of these age groups do not have a very high opinion of the other, which could lead to tension on the roads.

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust

Refresher training

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “The popular debate over whether old or young drivers are safer has raged for years.

“What we can say is that drivers in each of these age groups do not have a very high opinion of the other, which could lead to tension on the roads.

“From our Drive Confident courses, we know that people of all ages and driving experiences can suffer a confidence crisis and need help to get their driving back on track.

“Rather than looking at a driver in terms of how old they are as an indicator of how safe they are, we would urge all drivers, irrespective of age, to think hard about whether they, or someone they know, could benefit from refresher training.

“We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and each other on the roads so if you think you are rusty in some areas then please do apply for Drive Confident.”

We are delighted that the innovative work of the Trust and in particular our Drive Confident courses have been recognised by winning this prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust

Help from the AA Charitable Trust

Any driver, regardless of age, can access free help from the AA Charitable Trust, with Drive Confident and Drive Smart courses.

The AA Trust won the Prince Michael award for the development and promotion of the Drive Confident courses for rusty and nervous drivers.

The award was presented by HRH Prince Michael to Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust at The Savoy Hotel in London.

Commenting on the award, Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “The aim of the AA Trust is to offer practical road safety help to drivers at risk. We are delighted that the innovative work of the Trust and in particular our Drive Confident courses have been recognised by winning this prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.”

2000 more free courses

To celebrate the award, the AA Charitable Trust has committed to a further 2,000 free Drive Confident courses designed to help nervous, rusty and lapsed drivers get back behind the wheel with renewed confidence and competence.

Since the courses were launched in 2010 more than 5,000 drivers have applied for the two free hours of in-car tuition from an AA Driving School instructor.

The impact the courses have on those who take them can be quite dramatic as the following quotes from participants show:

“I was very hesitant about phoning about this course, now my husband and I take turns driving, it's given me a real confidence boost.  I would recommend this course to anyone.  Thank You.”

“It was extremely beneficial and I am glad I was able to participate. I have now taken a job which involves driving significantly more than I felt confident to 12 months ago!”

“Having someone with me to correct mistakes, despite being a very experienced driver, really increased my confidence which makes me feel safer and more equipped to make the right driving decisions.” 

A typical candidate might be a 65 year old recent widow who hadn’t driven for a number of years but needs to get back behind the wheel as she lives in a rural area.

Other applicants might be suffering from a phobia of motorways, flyovers, roundabouts or parking.

The promotion of the courses has also included a six-episode television programme, called Dangerous Drivers’ School, shown on Channel 5 in the autumn of 2011. A new series will be aired in the New Year.

Applicants can select which area of driving they would like to focus on in the two hour free training, for example motorways, night driving or even parking.


(12 December 2012)

*Populus interviewed 12, 231 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 7th-14th December 2009.

**Populus interviewed 17,961 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 21st-28th September 2011.

Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.