A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
On 10 November 2012, just after 8pm, I left my friends’ house in northwest London, a happily married 33-year-old father. It was then that I heard my wife, Desreen, speak her final words: ‘I’m so proud of him,’ she said of our two-year-old son, Jackson.
Seconds later a car mounted the pavement and struck Desreen. It was a pensioner who’d mistaken the accelerator for the brake, and was going 54 miles per hour in a 20 zone. In that moment I became a widower.
The judge who sentenced the 85-year-old driver who killed my wife said; ‘An elderly driver who knows, or should acknowledge, that he or she is losing his or her faculties is no less a danger than a drunken driver who knows the same.’
I agree, that’s why I’ve started this petition calling for people over 70 to undergo compulsory retesting to keep their driving licence.
Right now when drivers turn 70 they can renew their licence every three years by filling in a self assessment form. No one assesses an older person’s driving skills or reactions, no one checks their eyesight or hearing, no one sees if their reactions are still sharp enough to stop in an emergency.
Despite this, some officials are recommending that in order to save costs, people shouldn’t have to renew their licence until they are 80.
I know the human cost of unfit drivers on the road and I never want anyone to go through a tragedy like the one that has decimated my family.
So I am asking you to sign and support my petition for the Secretary of State for Transport to introduce compulsory age-appropriate retesting every three years once a driver turns 70.
In the longer term, the Government should be making plans so they can support the mobility of elderly people, whose response rates are proven to diminish with age, not simply by keeping car keys in their hands, but through improved public transport, infrastructure and inclusion.
Please help me with this.