Man Passes Driving Test Aged 66

Last Updated: 01/01/2020

For most people, learning to drive is something that you are most likely to do in your younger year, and certainly before you reach your late 20s.

However, showing that age is no barrier, a man in Scotland has successfully passed his driving test aged 66!

But that’s not quite the whole story.

William Sichel, from Orkney, has actually been driving for more than thirty years – 33 to be precise.

However, thanks to a DVLA exemption that very few people know about, he has never needed to have a full driving license.

While he did hold a provisional license, he had never actually had the need to pass his test and obtain a full UK license.

Mr Sichel had lived on the island of Sanday, one of the many small islands off Orkney.

A DVLA exemption exists for Sanday and a handful of other small islands, which allows drivers to drive without a full license on the islands whereby motorists cannot conveniently be driven to a road in any other part of the UK.

Effectively, that means if you cannot drive from the island into other parts of the UK, then the exemption allows us to simply drive on a provisional license.

Given the remote location of many of these islands and the lack of road users (and roads in some cases!), it makes sense.

However, Mr Sichel opted to move house from Sanday back to Orkney where the exemption does not exist.

This led to the realisation that he would have to do what millions of us have done before him and take the dreaded driving test.

Thanks for his 33 years of experience behind the wheel, Mr Sichel was able to sit just nine lessons to get in to a position where he was deemed ready to sit the practical driving test.

Take the test he did, passing first time and thus earning that full driving license at the age of 66.

While it’s certainly not the oldest someone has gained their driving license, it’s a little later in life than the majority of people.

Speaking about his achievement, Mr Sichel said: “I had the old green paper licence which the instructor nearly fell over at as he has only ever seen one in his career. I lost my wife two-and-a-half years ago and after moving to Sanday in May ’82 I decided it is time to move on and move to mainland Orkney. It is a much bigger place and I thought it would be handy to drive around on my own. I was quite intimidated as there was somebody watching my every move. It made me a bit tense and nervous as you start thinking ‘ooh I maybe shouldn’t have done that’ but by the fifth or sixth lesson I calmed down and from there it was plain sailing.”

The DVLA exemption which allows drivers with a provisional license to drive without a full license is currently in place on the islands of Arran, Barra, Bute, Harris, Lewis, Shetland, Mull, Uist and Tiree.

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