Elderly driver with poor eyesight and Alzheimer’s stopped by police for driving wrong way up the A12

The A12 in Essex. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The A12 in Essex. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Police have taken away an elderly man’s licence after he was caught driving the wrong way up the A12.


The 87-year-old, who has poor eyesight and Alzheimer’s disease, joined the southbound carriageway from the Hatfield Peverel slip road in Essex on Thursday afternoon.

He managed to travel the wrong way for around three miles until he reached the Kelvedon bypass – where lorry drivers managed to stop him by blocking both lanes.

A British Transport Police (BTP) officer who was among several traffic units sent to help on blue lights said: “As far as we can tell he had gone to Southend from his home in Clacton to visit a friend who was not home.

“It is believed that on his way home he stayed in lane one approaching Hatfield Peverel, went up the off-slip through the village and straight down the southbound off-slip onto the southbound A12.

Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager at Essex Police. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager at Essex Police. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

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“He then travelled wrong way as far as the Kelvedon bypass where he was stopped by HGV drivers blocking the road.”

The man, who was taken home by officers, also narrowly missed being hit by a BTP car travelling southbound.

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The officer added: “(The BTP unit) then took the next off-slip back onto the northbound carriageway and stopped and crossed the A12.”

Multiple traffic units then took control of the man until senior officers arrived.

Keith Smith, another officer who responded to the incident tweeted to say: “Interesting day today ending with blue light run up the A12 to deal with an 87-year-old who had driven three miles up the wrong carriageway, Alzheimer’s and failed eyesight test do not make a good driver.

“Licence revoked at the roadside.”

Police officers have been reassured that safeguarding procedures are in place and the man is being looked after.

The news comes just days after Essex Police launched a campaign urging older drivers to consider whether they are fit to get behind the wheel.

Rolled out across the county last week, the initiative warns people of the devastating repercussions of an avoidable collision, such as injuries or death.

Casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe said: “The decision to stop driving due to ageing health can be difficult due to the loss of independence from not having a car to drive.

“However, the repercussions of an avoidable collision can be huge and range from personal injury to the driver to loss of an innocent member of the public.”

Further information for older drivers can be found on this website, which lists eyesight requirements and relevant legislation.

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