Hanging up the keys - Road age

The decision by Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, to surrender his licence at the age of 97 is likely to resonate with many older drivers in this country as well as in the UK.

He did so a month after his Land Rover overturned when he pulled out of a side road into the path of an oncoming car.

Prince Philip could always afford a personal chauffeur, yet his determination to do much of his own driving speaks to a spirited streak of independence.

It is a kind of spirit that keeps many people driving in later years. An RTÉ television documentary that aired last summer followed the lives of older Irish motorists, including a 101 year old man from Tipperary. It revealed the importance of living as independently as possible.

However, as the duke’s accident revealed, the principal issue for all road users is safety. A woman passenger who broke her wrist in the crash when the duke struck the car she was in has said she now feels safer that he has given up his driving licence. “It’s a shame he didn’t do it a bit sooner.”

Even the duke could hardly argue with that.

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