Bob Edwards was born in Hastings, England in 1908. He moved to New Zealand in 1927 and, at the age of 105 is the oldest driver in New Zealand, possibly the world. He still drives around 60 miles per week to collect grocery shopping for himself and his wife.
He was born before the first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line and learned to drive in a French car which was controlled by a lever instead of a steering wheel. He’s now been driving for 88 years and says he has no plans to stop. In that time he’s only ever been involved in one accident and been given one speeding ticket.
A few years ago Edwards broke his left hip and was told by doctors not to drive. He didn’t take much notice as he says he drives an automatic and he only needs his right leg for that!
In New Zealand drivers over the age of 80 must have health and sight tests every two years. A spokesperson from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Andy Knackstedt, overseas driver testing and state that facilitating older people being able to drive maintains their independence, mobility and dignity. “Our job is to balance this with the need to make sure our roads are safe” he says.
Edwards got his driving licence in 1925 and two years later moved to New Zealand after seeing an advertisement by the Salvation Army requiring young men to work on farms in England’s colonies. “They told me Canada was very cold, Australia was very hot but that New Zealand was just right” Edwards says “So I picked new Zealand.
Similarly in Michigan, USA, Margaret Dunning has been driving since she was 8 and obtained her driver’s licence aged just 12 (which we certainly wouldn’t recommend!) potentially making her time as a driver of 94 years the longest of anyone on the planet.
Dunning drives the same car today that she’s had since 1949, an 83 year old Packard 740 Roadster. It is in pristine condition, with Dunning changing her own oil and spark plugs, putting many younger drivers and younger cars to shame!