After his partner for 25 years died in a car accident, a man is calling for compulsory driving tests for drivers over the age of 70.

Jeanette Newman died aged 64 in May 2018 when William Heagren, 86, from Harrow, reversed into her after mistaking the accelerator for the brake.

The car travelled 100ft and hit Ms Newman and her friend Sarah Taylor, 53, as he tried to park his Ford Fusion in a busy Sainsbury’s car park.

Ms Taylor survived the incident but suffered life changing injuries.

Heagren was jailed for 27 months at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday (December 4).

Harrow Times:

William Heagren at Harrow Crown Court (Photo: SWNS)

Andrew Roberts, 58, who was with Ms Newman for 25 years, wrote to Boris Johnson to implement compulsory driving tests for drivers over the age of 70.

Mr Roberts told South West News Service (SWNS): “I am a broken man since Jeanette was so violently and suddenly taken away.

“I take no pleasure from seeing Mr Heagren jailed. What needs to happen now is a change in the law on older drivers. Jeanette would have done it for me.”

Despite sending a letter in the summer to Mr Johnson, who stands as his local MP, the suggestions were not considered as the now Prime Minister replied: “At the moment, the Government does not have plans to alter the rules governing the renewal of driving licence to those over the age of 70.

“The current licencing arrangements are destined to be balanced and proportionate without penalising drivers who continue to drive safely, and robust safeguards are in place to ensure that individuals are fit to drive.”

Harrow Times:

Jeanette Newman died aged 64 (Photo: SWNS)

In response to the letter, Mr Roberts said: “I urge him to reconsider. The law needs to change.

“I am in favour of a mandatory practical test for all drivers when they reach 70, which should be supplemented by a compulsory annual medical review once they reach 75.

“For drivers aged 85 and over, I would advocate an annual medical review and a practical test every two years.”

Similar laws already exist in New South Wales, Australia and in Illinois, USA, however in the UK the DVLA sends a form to renew a licence for three years once turning 70.

“I fully appreciate that for some older people driving is a lifeline, and many will do so safely, but in the same way that a test needs to be passed at the start of someone’s driving career, then the same should apply once someone reaches 70.

“With an ageing population, it’s just too big a risk not to change the law.”

Harrow Times:

The scene where the car hit Jeanette Newman (Photo: SWNS)

In July 2017 the DVLA released figures to show that the number of drivers over the age of 90 had reached 100,000 for the first time ever and that there were more than 4.5 million drivers over the age of 70 in the UK.

There is currently no upper age limit to driving in the UK.