Elderly Driving

Topics: Driving, Old age, Gerontology Pages: 5 (1503 words) Published: February 12, 2014

Elderly Driving
There has been an increase of accidents caused by elderly drivers over the course of many years. With such a dramatic increase, should elderly drivers have driving restrictions? I believe that after the age of 75, seniors should have to retake their drivers test or have restrictions, regardless of their driving record.

There is support for some restrictions on elderly drivers based on evidence that older drivers are more involved in traffic accidents than any age group except for teenagers. According to the article, “Elderly Driver Restrictions,” “The push to add restrictions gained momentum following the November 1998 death of 15-year-old Brandi Mitock. While crossing an intersection, Mitock was struck and killed by a 96-year-old driver who claimed not to have seen her. The driver had not taken a road test since he first got his license in 1918.” With so much support already, and research backing up these claims, many states should consider greater restriction for elderly drivers when they renew their license.

Many states have passed laws that uphold restrictions on elderly driving. States have different ages when drivers must renew their licenses. In Alaska, the age is 69, but in Arizona it starts at 65. Some states even require vision tests when they renew their licenses. These laws vary from state to state.

Most people want to continue driving for as long as they can. Yet there comes a time when people must limit or stop driving, either temporarily or permanently. There are often reports in the news or local newspapers about an elderly driver getting lost or causing an accident. The human body changes as it ages and after a certain age, many people experience a decrease in multiple functions, some of which are needed in order to drive safely. For many elderly drivers, the biggest challenge is vision. Some people lose the ability to perceive depth as they age. Declining depth perception can make driving difficult at intersections and when parking. Diseases that affect older people, such as glaucoma and cataracts, can also cause vision problems. These problems can make it difficult for the elderly to read traffics signs and gauge distances. With our bodies slowly deteriorating as we age, our driving skills are going to be challenged. I would not want my elderly family members behind the wheel if I knew their driving abilities were being stretched. I do not want some elderly driver to injure themselves or others just for the sake of them to keep on driving.
Many elderly drivers also suffer from joint problems like arthritis, which decreases their range of motion. This disability can make it difficult for older people to turn their head while driving in reverse, or to quickly move their foot from the gas pedal to the brake if they have to make a sudden stop. They may also have slower reflexes and a decrease in cognitive skills, which could give them problems at intersections and on highways. Some older drivers may suffer short-term memory loss, which can impair one’s ability to process information when merging with traffic or changing lanes, increasing the risk of an accident to occur.

Many older drivers end up getting lost, or have trouble seeing traffic signals and signs. They end up becoming distracted, or misjudge distance and cause accidents. Some drivers drive 10 miles under the speed limit causing other drivers to have road rage and cause accidents or close-calls. Elderly driving needs to have restrictions and be limited.

According to the article “Driver’s Education for the Elderly,” statistics show that the elderly are involved in fatal crashes more than ever before:
Although driving fatalities in the U.S. are highest among teens between the ages of 16 and 20, elderly drivers over the age of 75 are also involved in a disproportionate number of deadly accidents. In 1998, nearly 25 out of every 100,000 male drivers over the age of 75 died in an...

Cited: [Westminster, MD] 9 Dec. 2013, News: NewsBank. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
5 Feb. 2014.
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