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Prince Philip car crash sparks debate about elderly drivers



When the Obamas visited the UK for a state visit in 2016, they weren’t escorted from their helicopter by a security driver.

Instead, the task fell to Prince Philip – a keen motorist. The Duke of Edinburgh, 94 at the time, gave the Queen and the world’s most powerful couple a lift to Windsor Castle.

Mr Obama was complimentary about the duke’s driving skills, and said at the time: “I have to say I have never been driven by a Duke of Edinburgh before and I can report that it was very smooth riding.”


2016: Duke drives Obamas to lunch

But three years on, questions are now being raised as to whether Prince Philip should still be driving at the age of 97 after he was involved in a car crash while behind the wheel near the Sandringham Estate.

Royal biographer Penny Junor told Sky News: “It was a horrible thing to happen, but should he be driving?

“I have no idea who the fault lay with – but he is 97 years old and maybe his reactions are not as fast as they once were.”

While there is no legal limit on driving ages in the UK, motorists have to renew their licence at least 90 days before reaching the age of 70, and then every three years after that.

A picture from the scene of the crash shows a vehicle on its side. Pic: KLFM
A picture from the scene of the crash shows a vehicle on its side. Pic: KLFM

Edmund King, the president of the AA, said calls for elderly drivers to face bans or restrictions after car crashes are misplaced.

He said: “We wish the Duke of Edinburgh well. Many commentators use high-profile car crashes involving elderly drivers as a reason to call for bans or restrictions on older drivers.

“If driving restrictions based on age and safety were introduced we would be more likely to restrict young drivers rather than older drivers.

“Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.

Prince Philip car crash
Prince Philip was uninjured in the collision

“Older drivers often self restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads.

“The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family rather than being based on some arbitrary age.

“We all age differently and the car is an essential lifeline for many elderly people.”

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