A doughty 99-year-old woman has been crowned Britain’s oldest learner driver.
The plucky nonagenarian is among thousands of would-be motorists who decide to hit the road later in life, new research shows.
Leading motoring association MotorEasy obtained a breakdown of the age profiles of people who applied for provisional driving licences in recent years and also found a 97-year-old and two 96-year-olds among last year’s crop of would-be learners.
Duncan McClure Fisher, founder and CEO of MotorEasy, said: “The saying goes that you are as young as you feel, and age doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving something as big as passing your driving test.
“Many people find learning to drive a little daunting, so anyone who decides to take the plunge should be applauded no matter their vintage.
“These surprising figures show that rather than being cowed by their age and events such as the Covid pandemic, these plucky pensioners are embracing their independence and living life to the full.
“As long as you have the physical and mental ability to become a capable and responsible driver, it shouldn’t matter whether you begin at 17 or 99.”
MotorEasy asked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a full breakdown of the ages and genders of people who applied for and were granted a provisional driving licence between 2016 and 2021.
The statistics show 16 is always the most popular age for learner drivers to begin the process, with 17 being the legal age to drive on UK roads.
Some 187,208 learners aged 16 applied for a provisional licence so far in 2021, with the next most common age being 17 with 110,576 applicants.
This year, a total of 760 people over the pension age of 66 decided to learn how to drive.
This includes six people between the ages of 90 and 97 – the oldest applicant in 2021 – and 27 applicants between the ages of 80 and 89.
Last year, the 99-year-old woman led the way in the oldest learner driver stakes, followed by two 95-year-olds and one 93-year-old.
There is no maximum age to learn how to drive in the UK, but once you reach the age of 70 your licence expires and you have to renew it every three years, rather than every 10 years for under 70s.
Since 2016, there has been one 99-year-old applicant, one aged 98, two aged 97, one aged 96 and four aged 95.
The oldest, just a year away from receiving a congratulatory telegram from the Queen, would legally have been able to drive as long ago as 1939 – the year World War Two broke out.
Her Majesty, 95, is among those still driving in their later years, with the monarch spotted behind the wheel of a Jaguar estate close to
Windsor Castle just last month.
Her late husband, Prince Philip, only gave up his licence at the age of 97 – two years before he died.
The DVLA does not disclose the locations of learner drivers as it could lead to identification.