Road safety organisation, GEM Motoring Assist is calling for new ways of assessing whether a driver is medically fit to hold a licence.

It comes after the latest report issued by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), which criticises the current approaches to assessing driver medical fitness.

Despite studies showing that specific medical conditions are important factors for fitness to drive, the starting point for establishing fitness to drive in the UK is still an assessment based on age. This process is also used in many other European countries.

GEM urges individual drivers to take responsibility for their own safety and fitness to drive, plus encouraging family members to look for early signs of unsafe driving in their senior relatives.

according to GEM specific medical conditions such as substance abuse, mental disorders, epilepsy, and diabetes are not being considered as seriously as they should when related to a driver’s medical fitness.

GEM is also warning fleet managers of an 'increased likelihood' of distracted driving when drivers get behind the wheel again as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Commenting on the ETSC report, Neil Worth, GEM chief executive, said: “This report confirms that mandatory age-based screening of older drivers is ineffective in preventing severe collisions.

"It is concerning that the only requirement in law for anyone aged over 70 is to declare every three years that they are fit to drive.”

GEM says that an age-based self-certification system should be replaced by regular medical examinations for drivers of all ages, with checks on eyesight, hearing, vision, and blood pressure.

Worth added: “However, in the absence of an effective re-testing framework, it’s vital that we each take responsibility for our own safety.

“We want as many people as possible to enjoy the freedom of the open road as drivers, but safety must be the priority.”