French polls support compulsory tests for drivers aged over 65

Driver in France
Should older drivers be forced to take a medical examination? Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP
The idea of compulsory tests for drivers aged 65 and over in France has received strong backing in a public poll.

The poll conducted by Dekra for RTL radio showed that 75 percent of people support the idea of regular compulsory medical examinations for drivers  over the age of 65, and even 58 percent of the over 65s themselves supported the idea.

There are currently no restrictions on older drivers in France, with no medical tests required in order to go on driving.

Unlike the UK, holders of French driving licences are not required to renew their licence once they hit the age of 70.

However the local Préfet can order a medical examination of an older driver if they feel there are grounds for concern over them driving – this usually follows an accident.

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Despite public support for the idea, there are currently no plans to introduce compulsory medical examinations, while the idea of having to retake the driving test at a certain age proved roundly unpopular.

Statistics back up older drivers here – drivers aged 65 and older cause around 10 percent of fatal accidents on French roads – half that of the 18 to 24 age group, who cause 20 percent of fatal crashes, according to data from the national road safety body.

Residents in France who hold a non-French driving licence are required to swap their licence for a French one, usually within one year of moving.

However there are some exceptions to this – a post-Brexit deal for UK driving licence holders means that some people can carry on driving on their British licence – full details here.

Meanwhile licences can only be swapped if there is a reciprocal deal between France and the country that issued the licence. In the USA this is done on a state-by-state basis, some some US licence holders can do a straight swap, while others face having to take a French driving test.

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