Pensioner on mobility scooter mown down and killed by 95-year-old driver
A senior coroner has called for urgent changes in the age limits for drivers in the UK after a pensioner on a mobility scooter was mown down and killed by a 95-year-old driver.
Kathleen Fancourt, 89, died after being hit by a car driven by the man at a pedestrian crossing while the lights were green for pedestrians and red for traffic, an inquest heard.
The elderly driver has since pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
The incident, which occurred in Chichester, has led to coroner Penelope Schofield raising concerns about the lack of limits for elderly drivers in a prevention of future deaths report.
In 2020 alone there were 174 fatal accidents caused by drivers over the age of 70.
Government figures also show that “driver illness or disability (mental or physical)” was the fourth most common contributing factor in these deaths.
Under current laws, drivers over 70 are required to apply for a new licence every three years.
However, there are no medical checks required to confirm the applicant is fit to drive, which is instead left up to the self-declaration of the motorist.
Elderly drivers are also not required to retake their driving test when renewing their licence - something many argue should be introduced.
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Mrs Schofield was so concerned by the lack of limits and assessments on elderly drivers that she wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP, and the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Julie Lennard.
She told the pair they had the “power” to take the necessary action to prevent future deaths.
Introducing her report Mrs Schofield outlined the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Fancourt.
She said: "On Thursday, September 16, 2021, on Broyle Road in Chichester, West Sussex, Kathleen Fancourt was on her mobility scooter waiting at a pedestrian crossing.
"The crossing light was green for pedestrians and red for traffic.
"As Mrs Fancourt commenced to cross the road she was hit by a Peugeot car driving over the crossing.
"The driver of the car was 95 years old and has since this incident pleaded guilty to an offence of dangerous driving.
"The conclusion of the inquest was that Mrs Fancourt died an accidental death.
"During the course of the investigation, my inquiries revealed matters giving rise to concern.
"In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.
"This accident was caused by a driver who was 95 years old. At present, there is no upper legal limit for drivers.
"Whilst drivers over 70 are required to apply for a new licence every three years, there is no requirement for there to be any form of medical check to confirm their fitness to drive.
"It is left to a self-declaration of any medical condition by the driver.
"There is a concern that if no checks are carried out a driver may be oblivious to their enduring medical condition and this may pose a serious risk to other road users.
"In my opinion, action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you (and/or your organisation) have the power to take such action."