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When will we say enough is enough? How old do you have to be to become a dangerous driver?
I am listing this under the Human Rights area of Hubpages, but to be honest, I do not know where it belongs. All I can say is that I am angry, seriously angry. Not at anyone in particular, because this hits home to everyone in America; but the implications will not sink in until it happens either to you, or to someone you know, work with, love, or are involved with in some manner.
I will state right off that I know, in no uncertain terms, that I am going to offend somebody, to which I am saying I do not care! The time to stop soft pedaling this issue is long past, and we need to do something to the population at large. Here it is: if you have reached an age where you are no longer a safe driver, you deserve to lose your driver's license!!!
Perhaps it isn't even an age thing. Perhaps it is just an ability issue that can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere in America today. But I am focusing on these eldery drivers because of what our community is faced with today. First I will list what just a few moments worth of searching uncovered in this area.
Florida - 93 yr old man suffering from dementia struck a pedestrian and drove through a toll booth with the man on his windshield. The pedestrian’s leg was severed in the incident. All drivers over the age of 80 in Florida must pass a vision test before having their license renewed, but no driving test is required.
California – 87 yr old man strikes a pedestrian in a crosswalk and kills him. Driver advises he did not see the pedestrian before striking him.
Massachusetts – 71 yr old man’s car jumps the curb and strikes a woman on the sidewalk, killing her. A child walking on the sidewalk was also injured.
Massachusetts - 7 year old Herbert Whitaker of Halifax was killed when he was crossing the street with his father and was hit by a car driven by a 76 year old. On July 12th, Richard Kelly, 55 from Pelham, New Hampshire, died when his 2005 Harley-Davidson motorcycle was struck by an elderly driver. In June, 4 year old Diya Patel was killed as she was crossing the street in Stoughton and was hit by an 86 year old driver.
California – 75 yr old woman hits a fellow senior citizen in a retirement community and kills her.
After that introduction, I will give you what our community faces right now.On Saturday, January 12, 2013 a 75 year old woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma somehow ended up in the Eastbound lane of I44 near Sarcoxie, Missouri and struck a family head on, killing her and the father of the family virtually instantly. In addition, the mother is fighting for her life; the 19 year old daughter is in a medically induced coma, suffering loss of feeling in her legs among other serious internal injuries; the 13 year old daughter had traumatic head injuries which have required doctors to remove part of her skull to ease brain swelling and is also in a medically induced coma; the 12 year old daughter has a crushed pelvis and a collapsed lung, among other serious injuries. All of this mayhem and heartache because an elderly woman could not tell which road she was turning onto, and was unable to realize she was on an interstate highway traveling against traffic moving at 70 miles per hour. How much more of a hint do you need to know you are a danger to others?
Drivers with a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) who drive trucks carrying products all over the country; who drive school buses carrying our children; who drive in our cities as dump truck drivers or trash truck operators are all bound by the same law: on and forever after your 71st birthday they will take a driver's test with a Highway Patrol Officer to determine if they are still able to safely drive on our city streets and highways. Why do we not call, scream, demand the same of everyday drivers operating their personal vehicles?
I'll tell you why: because there are so many people of this age who are active in politics, and see this driving ability as their God given right, and not as a privilege. People, it IS a privilege; it is not a right. If you are unable to see, to hear, to react, to acknowledge situations are beyond your ability then you should lose your license to operate a vehicle. I understand there are few ways to get about in a large amount of towns and cities across our country, but is it worth killing someone? Really?
An insurance company here in town told my wife and I once that whenever the weather is at its worst, elderly people will come in on those days to pay their premiums, rather than waiting or mailing them in. When I worked in retail, I saw firsthand this portion of the citizenry come in on the absolute worst days, whether it was snow, or ice, or torrential downpours. It was as if they were out to prove they still had the ability to drive in these situations.
I am not an old person hater. Hell, I am almost one myself! But I see it all too often on the news where some elderly person has not hit the brake but rather hit the accelerator and run into a building, injuring or killing someone there; or run into a group of people, maiming several before finally stopping their car. When is enough enough?
I hesitate to say this, but we have people walking into movie theaters or schools or malls, opening fire on innocent civilians and killing them senselessly. But is an elderly person driving the wrong way on a highway any less a tragedy? One person dead and four others in serious condition, all because they "thought" themselves capable of driving a machine capable of so much death. You tell me: is one life worth your driving to the store to get bread and milk?