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Older motorists in Essex asked to consider their fitness to drive after crashes at A120 and Colchester

PUBLISHED: 19:24 09 November 2017

The death of Colchester student Cassie McCord highlighted the dangers associated with older drivers. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The death of Colchester student Cassie McCord highlighted the dangers associated with older drivers. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A spate of crashes involving older motorists in Essex has prompted warnings over the dangers of driving while suffering from illness or deteriorating health.

Essex Police is urging older drivers to consider whether they are fit to get behind the wheel, warning of the devastating repercussions of an avoidable collision, such as injuries or death.

It follows a number of recent collisions involving ageing drivers.

Officers were called to a collision on the A120, Elmstead, shortly after 9.40am on Saturday, September 9.

Police said a 90-year-old woman failed to see an approaching car when turning her blue Vauxhal Agila on to the dual carriageway.

As a result she hit the car, driven by a 29-year-old man, which was forced to swerve onto a curb and then crashed through a fence.

The woman kept her foot on the accelerator and crashed into a field around 200 metres up the road.

The man suffered serious head injuries and was reported to have been lucky to walk away from the collision.

In a separate incident, officers were called to a collision in Bromley Road, Colchester shortly after 10am on Monday, October 24.

A woman in her sixties had reversed her blue Vauxhall Corsa into a metal barrier outside Tesco express.

An ambulance attended but the driver suffered no injuries. No one else was injured.

The car had to be recovered as it was suspended 4ft off the ground and attached to the barriers.

Both of the older drivers surrendered their licenses following the incidents.

Essex has been at the forefront of campaigns to reduce preventable road deaths caused by older drivers.

It began in 2011, when Cassie McCord, 16, was killed while walking to Colchester Sixth Form College. An 87-year-old driver, Colin Horsfall, lost control of his vehicle and mounted the pavement where she stood.

Jackie McCord, who lived in Ipswich for a time after the accident, campaigned for a change in the law after it emerged Mr Horsfall had failed an eyesight test following an incident in a supermarket car park just days previously.

Though he had been warned against driving, police were unable to request the immediate revocation of his driving licence,

Working with Essex Police, Mrs McCord lobbied successfully for the Department for Transport to introduce new measures, referred to as “Cassie’s Law”, which made it quicker for licences to be revoked by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority.

Casualty reduction manager at Essex Police, Adam Pipe said: “The decision to stop driving due to ageing health can be difficult due to the loss of independence from not having a car to drive. However the repercussions of an avoidable collision can be huge and range from personal injury to the driver to loss of an innocent member of the public.”

Relatives who are worried about a family member’s fitness to drive can email to arrange a home visit.

An officer will visit the driver at home and give them a health assessment, including an eye test and will discuss any pre-existing medical conditions.

“Working with elderly drivers is just part of the engagement, enforcement and education work we do in an effort to change the behaviour of road users of all ages, whether they are a driver, cyclist or pedestrian,” Mr Pipe added.

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