A great-great-grandfather who began driving lorries aged 12 has been hailed Britain’s Safest Driver after 83 years of unblemished motoring — without a crash or speeding ticket.
Jack Roberts, 95, first got behind the wheel of a Model T Ford in 1927 when his father Fred taught him to drive the delivery trucks used in the family coal and stone business.
He gained his licence aged 15 without passing a test – by filling out a form, lying about his age, paying five shillings and ”standing on his tip toes” to look 17 years old.
Incredibly, during 83 years of driving Jack has never had a crash, collision or speeding ticket and he attributes his unblemished record to his cautious driving style.
Widower Jack, who lives in Cinderford, Glos., said that he can ”still drive well” despite the changes in motoring.
He said: ”I prove that the myth about old people being unsafe on the road is ridiculous – I have fantastic eyesight and I have never had a crash.
”Any OAP who can’t see shouldn’t be on the road but I can see just fine and when I can’t do the job properly I won’t get behind the wheel.
”I don’t know what my secret is but I think my good record is down to staying healthy, looking after myself, and trying not to drink or smoke.
”Avoiding the speed cameras has probably been a bit of luck and a bit of good judgement.
”When I got my license you had to be 17, I was only 15 so I lied on the form and stood on tip toes to make myself look taller.
”I’ve got no idea how many miles I have driven since then but I know it must have been a lot. I hope I can continue for a long time in the future.”
Jack first started driving model T Fords aged 12 when his father Fred drafted him in to help out with the family haulage firm, Fred Roberts, of Drybrook.
He said: ”It was a bit different from what it’s like now. We didn’t have side windows or even mirrors.”
Jack gained his license aged 15 at the council offices in Gloucester, Glos., by pretending to be 17 years old on his application form.
He explained: ”I remember going into the office near the Cathedral in Gloucester after jumping off the bus.
”I walked in on tip toes to make myself look taller and older because you had to be 17 years old to drive, as you do now.
”After the licence was stamped I ran out and got back on my bus. I was driving a lorry that very night.
”I was only in there for about five minutes and all I had to do was fill out a form.”
Jack fought in Africa in the Second World War but suffered a leg injury after he was hit by friendly fire from an American bomber during the Battle of Monte Cassino, Italy.
He returned to Britain and underwent an operation on his left leg in Bristol before settling down to live with late wife Iris.
They had one son, John, 71, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Keen photographer Jack, who will reach 84 years of clean driving when he turns 96 on June 25, drove a Ford Zephyr after the war and then owned three Alfa Romeos.
During the 70s he had three Volkswagen Beetles before going on to buy five Saab’s and now drives a Toyota Previa.
He sold the family haulage business in 1960 before setting up a Government surplus company and retired in the late 1970s.
Jack added: ”I have never had a crash. I’ve never even been pulled over by the police. It’s different now but I can still drive well and want to continue to do so.”
* The is no maximum age limit to driving in the United Kingdom provided the motorist satisfies requirements for insurance, including adequate vision.