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Elderly Drivers: Should They Have a License?

Updated on May 25, 2012
Otto, the Bonecrusher, dead at 101 yrs.
Otto, the Bonecrusher, dead at 101 yrs.

My take on this is a cautionary "yes". It is really one's personal responsibility at any age when driving, but it is more acute when the driver is over 70 yrs. Yes, it is all relative to their condition. I mean, someone who is 60 yrs. might not be fit, while an 80 yr. old remains viable as a driver. But, let's face it, elderly people simply have lost some of their cognitive and quick reflexes that they once had in better days, we'll all get there one day. Elderly people are simply slower. Age is like a car, the more miles you put on it, the more likely something will go wrong and the body deteriorates.

Accidents happen, yet when they involved elderly people, it seems worse and for first reaction is, "why are they even driving"? Well, obviously they passed the DMV exam and driving test. Yet, the test does nothing to predict how fast they will react to fast moving cars and surroundings. So, these drivers move slow, sometimes, too slow, and this can cause accidents. Then, sometimes, the "go dark" and step on the gas instead of the brake. It just goes with the aging terrain. Motorists 80 or older had a crash rate of 90 per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2010, compared with 347 crashes per 10,000 drivers for those ages 15 to 24.

Then there is this: A sprite, "young", 101 yr. old man, a former boxer (known as ,The Bonecrusher) in his prime (his girlfriend is 87), still operating a photography store near a senior center. We all should pray to reach that age in decent shape! He was walking in the crosswalk trying to get to the center he hung out at. You know what is coming....a car, that slams into him, killing him tragically. What you do not know is that this car was driven by a 91 yr. old lady, who was not hurt. She was a retired teacher and a trustee for a library.

The time of the accident was twilight or dark. She simply did not see him. End of the traffic report. End of 100 years of life. End of this hub.

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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      My mom was mid-70s, had macular D, so her field of vision was narrow. It made me nervous as a passenger because she hugged the right side. After she almost got in an accident, she quit driving. She was responsible and lost total independence.

    • Druid Dude profile image

      Druid Dude 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      My grandfather insisted that were he to stop driving he would die. At ninety one, he willingly stopped driving. Less than a year later, at ninety two, he passed away. I think he died from being 92, but it is a good statement on the freedom that driving means to the elderly. I was never a big fan of his driving skills anyways.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      Yearly testing is good, because, as you know with a car that has 200,000 miles on, at a certain stage, things go bad more frequently.

    • profile image

      Jayfort 

      6 years ago

      Back in 2000 or 2001, my youngest son and I were driving into town to get some breakfast. It was a quiet Saturday morning and traffic was very light (fortunately). The road we were on was a four-lane, divided highway; well marked. As I looked ahead of our vehicle, I saw a car approaching in the wrong direction. I tried signalling with my headlights and horn to no avail. I pulled to the far right and let the dear, kindly, little old lady pass us. I called 911, crossed over to the opposite direction, and followed her until the police intercepted and stopped her.

      Another incident involved an elderly woman in a retirement home who got in her vehicle and drove away. She ended up about thirty miles from her place, drove her vehicle into a swampy area of a small community college, and wandered over to some dorms. She sat there outside the dorms for over 36 hours before I saw her car near the dorms and while investigating, found her, and reported her to the sheriff.

      Driving IS freedom, but ALL freedoms come with RESPONSIBILITY.

      Great Hub, Perry (as always!).

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 

      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      Elderly should be retested YEARLY, and maybe, with doctor's endorsement (much like getting a handicap placard).

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Yes. I believe its about independence for the elderly. If its found that they have dementia or Alzheimer's and there will being is at stake, then I would have to say no; but so long as they can I don't see why not? I hope I have my license when I am over 70 years old. Great hub!

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