By: Cassie RindtSenior citizens should be off the roads! Anyone over the age of 65that cannot handle the responsibility of driving a vehicle should not beallowed to drive.
To weed out these people every person once they reachthat age should have to retake their written and road driving exams thatyear, and every year after that. This will dramatically minimize theamount of accidents caused by the elderly. My grandfather is an example ofa bad driver over the age of 70. He is 78 and still drives although I donot believe that he should. He had a bad work accident (not involving avehicle) about a year and a month ago that has affected him greatly. Hehurt his arm really badly and now it is even hard for him to turn the key,or put on his seat belt imagine what he’s like driving it.
For instanceone time when he was driving me out to my dad’s house he was driving aboutspeed limit, but on the wrong side! He was driving on the left had side ofthe road maybe he thought he was in Europe? I don’t know what he thought,but all of a sudden we met another vehicle and grandpa wasn’t moving over. It wasn’t until the other vehicle was only _______ feet away from our truckthat he moved other almost colliding with it. Luckily no one was hurt, butthat experience could quite easily have ended differently. From now onwhen my grandpa is taking me out to the farm I drive! Most senior citizensthat should not be driving do not think that they are bad drivers. Theymay think that they have gotten worse as the years have passed, but inactuality their driving is dangerous.
These people need to be proved tothat they should not be on the roads as drivers but only as passengers. Ifretaking their road test is the only way to do this than that’s the way itshould be. Elderly drives are a hazard to all drivers. They cause accidents allthe time.
For example in September of 2003, an 88-year-old woman lostcontrol of her car and killed an elderly couple in Roseville, Minnesota. The same day in Santa Cruz, California, an 85-year-old driver injured fourpedestrians. In July, an 86-year-old driver killed ten people when hisvehicle plowed through a farmers’ market in Santa Monica, California. Theseare just a few examples of many. All the time you read new headlines thatsay: “Elderly driver causes accident,” “80 year old woman failed to stop ata red light, 3 dead,” etc.
“Quality Planning Corporation releasedstatistics from over one million drivers across the United States. Thestatistics show that drivers over 81 years of age are involved in 27reported accidents for every estimated one million miles driven. The datacompiled by QPC revealed that the most accident-prone age group is 16-24,after which accidents drop from 28 to 16 for 21 to 30 year olds andcontinue to decrease until the 61-70 age bracket, at which point theaccident rate starts to climb back up to about the same rate as that of theyoungest drivers. “1 Those statistics are about the same as they would bein Canada. Given that information proves that elderly drivers are a majorcause of accidents across Canada and America.
Even though the elderlydrivers cause around the same amount of accidents as does a 16 to 20 yearold, they are at more risk of fatality and injury in an accident. A person65 or older who is involved in a car accident is more likely to beseriously hurt, hospitalized, and more likely to die than younger peopleinvolved in the same crash. Fatal crash rates rise harshly after a driverhas reached the age of 70. As someone ages their ability to do the activities they once loveddecreases. Their bodies change gradually in such ways that affect theirdriving skills.
Many elders are hard on hearing affecting their drivingbecause they will not be able to hear other vehicles honking their horns,screeching tires, or an emergency vehicle siren. As a person ages theireyesight also gets worse. This is a big problem especially if the driverdoes not notice the change. Even if their eyes are normal they haveprobably lost some contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to detectsharp borders and slight changes in lighting.
This sensitivity helps inseeing the traffic lights change colors and it makes it easier to seethings in the dark or at dusk. Numerous senior citizens have arthritis,muscle degeneration and other diseases that affect movement, which isessential to driving. Medication is a big part of growing old. All of mygrandparents take several pills every day, some of which could affect theirdriving skills, but they may not even know it. Most people feel that theseeffects do not concern them and they are still as good of drivers as theywere when they were younger.
This is because of gradual change rather thanrapid change. When someone changes more gradually they do not notice it asmuch as they would with a rapid change. If elders had to take their testover again they would recognize the changes that had been made if therewere any. If a person does not pass the first time they can get whateverthey did wrong fixed or checked out and then go back and retake it to seeif they can drive again.
If the problem cannot be fixed then they simplyhave to live with the fact that they are safer in their homes than on theroads where they can be a hazard. Some seniors will argue that taking away their license is like takingaway their freedom. On the other hand, if an elder causes an accidentbecause of changes in their life due to age, they will be taking away thefreedom of another person or themselves. If they kill someone that personwill have no life left to live and no freedom. For sure people would bemore worried about the people that could die than the senior citizen thathas to stay at home.
For the seniors that do have their licenses revokedand their “freedom” taken away there are alternatives to make their lifeseem just as free as it was with their license. Most elders have childrenthat would gladly drive them around rather than have them get into anaccident. There are busses in large cities and for people who live insmall communities where there is no bus they can always get a scooter thatthey can take almost anywhere. If an elder is finding that they have toget the groceries and are not able to get a driver or catch a bus, mostbusinesses will deliver the groceries right to your door. For example, AGFoods in St.
Walburg will deliver your groceries for you if you so demand. If a senior wants food from a restaurant, most restaurants deliver. Aperson can get just about anything delivered nowadays. When the seniorscomplain that getting all this extra transportation is not affordable theyshould think about all the money they would have been spending on gas,insurance, repairs, etc.
on their automobile. All that money saved can goto buying their new ways of transportation. To summarize, between public,private and hired transportation, giving up a car does not mean being stuckat home. From the age of sixteen to sixty-five, about fifty years, there aremany changes in the laws regarding driving and automobiles.
These changesare sometimes not recognized by the senior drivers, therefore causing moreaccidents and violations by elders. For example the speed limit fordivided highways in Saskatchewan is now up to 110km/h instead of the old100km/h. My uncle who is seventy years old did not know this, and peoplebegan to pass us and we slowed down traffic. Following the speed limit isa good example of how elders have a good chance of causing accidents.
Ifan elderly person is driving way too slow and a semi comes up behind them,they have to go through a lot of gears in order to slow down to the samepace. If they do not slow down in time they may rear end the slow vehicleor have to use an emergency break causing damage to the semi. To learn allthese new rules and regulations there are courses for seniors to take. However, most seniors do not recognize that they have a problem driving anddo not see themselves as a hazard on the roads.
They believe that theyshould not have to retake a course and they know what they are doing. Many elders may think that putting an age limit on their driving isdiscriminatory. This is not so because it is not like this law is banningall drivers over a certain age, it is just banning certain people thatshould no longer be driving by testing them fairly. It is no differentthan failing a sixteen year old or a twenty year old when they take theirroad test. It should not be considered as age discrimination becauseeveryone will be “old” at one time if they live that long. Everyone knowsthat with living there comes getting old and eventually dying.
If theelders feel that they are being discriminated towards because of their age,then that’s stupid because the people trying to fight them not to drive arealso going to be old in the upcoming future and will also have to retaketheir test. Making this new law would be no more discriminatory than thedrinking age, age to get drivers permit and drivers license, and the agethat you are allowed to be in high school until. Too many accidents are caused because of elderly drivers not knowingwhat to do or not being able to do things properly in regards to driving avehicle. Making people over the age of 65 retake both their written androad exams once a year could solve this problem. If a person is 70 orolder and is still capable to operate a vehicle properly then what is thebig deal if they have to take a test once a year.
They should not beworried. If they are one of the ones that are not able to drive the waythey used to then it will be good for everyone, not having to worry abouthaving them on the road as a danger. My grandfather knows that his drivingskills have decreased quite a bit, but he does not seem to understand thathe should actually not be on the road. He is a danger to all peoplebecause his hearing is bad, his arm doesn’t work very well, he has a hardtime seeing at night, and he has poor reflexes. If he had his licensetaken away and was off the road I would feel much safer and would worrymuch less for him because I am scared that when he drives that he will getinto an accident.———————–1 Statistics from: (http://www.qualityplanning.com/news/030929-Older%20drivers.htm)