Mature Motorists: 1 in 4 Elderly Drivers Are Driving On UK Roads Illegally

There is no better feeling than passing your driving test and securing your driving license. Providing you are a safe and considerate driver, your driving license will typically see you through many decades on the UK’s roads – but did you know that once you reach the age of 70, you will need to renew your license every three years?

We wanted to see just how many motorists were aware of this little-known driving rule, and so we surveyed over 500 drivers aged 70 to 95 years old to find out – and the research revealed that the equivalent of over 1.5 million older drivers are driving illegally, with out-of-date licenses.

1.5 Million Elderly Drivers in the UK Are on the Roads Illegally

Department for Transport data states that there were 5.8 million drivers aged 70 years or older on UK roads in 2022. With our study revealing that over 1 in 4 (27%) motorists aged 70 years or older are leaving it four years or longer to renew their driving license, we estimate that the equivalent of over 1.5 million elderly drivers are travelling on the roads illegally, according to DVLA rules. If these drivers are caught with an out-of-date license, they could be fined up to £1,000 – a total of a whopping £1.5 billion in fines if all offending drivers were charged.

When broken down by different age brackets, our analysis found that a significant 52% of those aged 70 – 80 years old are (illegally) renewing their driving license every four years or more, while 48% of drivers aged 81 years or older are doing the same. Almost 1 in 10 (8%) of mature drivers do not renew their license at all after turning 70 – again leaving older motorists in the UK vulnerable to huge fines if caught.

When looking at some of the UK’s biggest cities, we found that 34% of elderly drivers in London were driving with out-of-date licenses, with 32% of motorists in Manchester and 30% of older drivers in Birmingham also breaking the driving law.

Our study also found that more than 1 in 5 (22%) of elderly drivers were not aware of the driving law, which requires motorists over the age of 70 to renew their documentation. Worryingly, over a third (38%) of those aged 70 – 80 years old claimed not to know about the rule.

How To Re-Apply for an Updated Driving License

The DVLA typically sends drivers a D46P application form around 90 days before you turn 70 years old – however if you do not receive one through the post, paper copies of the form can be obtained from your local Post Office.

Alternatively, you can head to the GOV UK website to renew online. You’ll need an email address, addresses of residence from the past three years, your National Insurance number and a valid UK passport number to re-apply, and updated licenses typically arrive within a week of re-application.

Motorists can also continue to drive while reapplying for their new license, providing they: have the support of their doctor to continue driving, had a valid license previously, and their last license wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons.

If you’ve decided to stop driving in your later years and want to get rid of an old vehicle, why not check out our scrap prices to see how much you could make by scrapping your car.


We partnered with Censuswide to survey 500 UK drivers, aged 70 – 95 asking them how often they renew their driving license and whether they were aware of the law which states that drivers aged 70 and older should renew their license every three years.

Figures of drivers at risk of being fined for are sourced from Department for Transport figures.

Survey conducted in April 2023.   

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