Should the Elderly Be Allowed to Drive?

Topics: Old age, Middle age, Gerontology Pages: 3 (1051 words) Published: December 15, 2005
Should elderly drivers be allowed to drive?

I have often wondered what the future holds for elderly drivers. It's difficult to voice my opinion(s) too strongly because it would seem as if I'm stabbing myself in the back. If we all keep living we're all going to get old, so each and every one of us will have to face the scrutinizing pressures of society on whether or not elderly citizens should be allowed to drive. My answer would be one based purely on safety.

Even though some elderly drivers may or may not be plagued with some health issues, I feel that elderly people should be allowed to drive. Sensory and perceptual capacities decline gradually with age in the normal person (Sigelman & Rider, 2006). Often these declines begin in early adulthood and become noticeable in the 40s, sometimes giving middle-aged people a feeling that they are getting old (Sigelman & Rider, 2006). In the state of California elderly people age 65 and older make up 12 percent of their licensed drivers and they're involved in 17 percent of fatal car crashes. In Florida a statewide study of car crashes during 2002 showed that 19-year old drivers were involved in the most crashes. When compared to elderly people, the rates of car crashes were lower. When drivers turn 78, risk increases greatly and grow higher after turning 85. Elderly drivers are at higher risk of injury and death when involved in a crash because they are least likely to withstand trauma. Most elderly drivers try to practice as much safety on the road as possible. They want to find ways to drive safe and drive as long as possible. Many elderly drivers make up for their deficits by limiting their driving in order to avoid intensive traffic patterns, by driving fewer miles, limiting trips to cover shorter distances and by avoiding driving during twilight or bad weather. Likewise, they are more cautious, drive slower and take fewer risks. Even though alcohol and high speed driving rarely plays a role,...

References: Sigelman, Carol K. and Rider, Elizabeth A. (2006). Life-Span Human Development (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
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