Seniors slam plan for 's' plates as 'ageist'

A proposal for older drivers to use 'S' plates is ageist and ignores the research that shows older drivers are no more of a road risk than other drivers, National Seniors says.

Insurer QBE has suggested drivers opt-in to a 'S1, S2' system that would allow a tracker in their car to judge their driving, which would replace medical or driving tests.

WA-based chairman of National Seniors David Carvosso said on Monday that fatalities involving older people occurred for a range of reasons, not just their age.

Carvosso said deaths occurred as much from the fact people were more susceptible to injury or worse in an accident.

"An accident that might impact a younger or a middle-aged person could have a different impact on an older person – it could be far more significant," he said.

"Bones weaken, people are more frail and more susceptible in an accident."

But that was unrelated to their ability to drive or the need for an 'S' plate or similar, he said.

"We would say this is fundamentally an ageist approach that identifies older people unfairly and inappropriately," he said.

"If we're going that way - why not apply labels based on performance behind the wheel, regardless of age," Carvosso said.

"If you're a speeder, maybe you get an ‘SP’, if you're a drink driver, maybe a ‘DD’.”

A QBE spokeswoman said the insurer welcomed community discussion regarding driver safety but the issue of ‘S’ plates and the use of driving tests was a matter for state regulators and the company was not calling for a restricted licensing regime for older drivers.

National Seniors has continually called for older drivers to be fairly treated in state and territory licensing laws.


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