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Older drivers are possibly becoming “prisoners in their own homes” due to the pressure on councils to turn off street lights at night, a road safety group has warned.

Better maintained white lines on the roads are the key to “unlocking freedom” for elderly motorists, said the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) .

The association’s national director George Lee said: “There is mounting pressure on road authorities to turn off street lights at night, and we know that road markings are not being maintained to compensate.

“These factors may be keeping older family members needlessly prisoners in their own homes.”

The RSMA is launching a new study with Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing to study whether better road visibility could ease “this self-imposed curfew” for older drivers.

Mr Lee went on: “Among healthy older drivers, keeping mobile is desirable for the individual, their families and friends, and for society as a whole.

“In any ageing population such as the UK’s, we cannot expect healthy people to accept a life of social isolation, simply because we have allowed the road network to be inaccessible by those who have lived here the longest.”

The RSMA study, created jointly with the university, is being carried out among around 2,000 participants.

Findings from the research will be launched at the RSMA’s annual conference in November.