Almost twenty percent of motorists in west Dorset are pensioners, a new study has revealed.

Of the 178,177 drivers in the DT postcode, 32,821 are aged 70 and over, meaning 18.42 percent of the population are classed as older drivers.

The DT area has the second highest percentage of elderly drivers in the UK, coming very closely behind Llandrindod Wells in Wales, where 18.56 per cent of drivers are aged 70+.

Car leasing company Hippo Leasing carried out the research through a freedom of information request to the DVLA.

But it's not just west Dorset which features on the top 10 list of postcodes with pensioners getting behind the wheel. Bournemouth (BH) comes in at seventh with 16.51 per cent of drivers aged 70+.

According to the DVLA, there are almost 5.4million people over the age of 70 who hold a valid driving license in Britain, 1.45 million of whom are 80, 113,492 over 90 and 319 over the age of 100.

Public perceptions about older drivers are typically negative, not helped by the Duke of Edinburgh’s well-publicised car crash in January.

In a recent survey carried out by YouGov and, 49 percent of UK drivers said they thought older drivers should be banned from the roads completely.

However, statistics show young drivers aged 17 to 24 are four times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than the over-70s.

While there’s currently no age limit, by law motorists must renew their driving licence when they turn 70, and every three years thereafter, by filling out a free self-assessment form. They don't have to take a practical driving test.

On the form, motorists also have to notify the DVLA if they have any medical conditions which could affect their driving and be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. Otherwise, they risk driving illegally, receiving a £1000 fine and invalidating their insurance.

Tom Preston, managing director at Hippo Leasing, said: "As the UK’s population ages, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more older motorists. While many people think this will impact road safety, it’s important to remember that age is just a number when it comes to a person’s ability to drive.

"So long as motorists are medically fit to drive and their vehicle is road-legal, it doesn’t matter if they’re 20 or 120."