Elderly Driver Dangers Essay, Research Paper
What should be done to keep elderly drivers and others safe on the road?
As society as a whole gets to be older and more older people are on the road, the safety for the older driver and the other motorists is becoming a problem we are all going to face. The ‘baby boomer’ generation is getting older. There are many alternatives to the problem but which one is the best? We need to take safety for our roads and the rights of the older driver into consideration. Older drivers are equal to teens in the high number of accidents they cause. With young drivers it is inexperience that causes accidents. With older drivers it is the rate of their reaction time. We do not want to discriminate against the older driver. There are good and bad drivers of every age. Do we make safe driving an age issue or should we test and train all unsafe drivers?
There are three possible ways to implement a change. First, have the elderly over the age of 65 renew their licenses every two years. The driver can have their eyes examined each time of renewal. It will also keep track of their accident rate or tickets they have received in the preceding interval.
The second way of implementing this is to have road tests at each renewal. This alternative seems a little extreme and expensive for the motor vehicle department. With the number of citizens becoming older it would be impossible to offer enough driving tests. The offenses that elderly drivers are being charged with are minor and are usually a question of reflexes and eyesight not dangerous driving habits. Therefore a mandatory-driving test is unusually harsh only to curb the elderly driver.
The third alternative is a combination of the first two. As drivers get above the age of 65 the license could be renewed every two years, eyes examined and records checked. If the drivers were shown to have unsafe driving by citation then the drivers who habitually are more dangerous would be given a driving test. The elderly can be offered a defensive driving course at a community college or at the DMV office. Only a limited number of drivers should be required to take road tests and if they do, it should be in their own car, and practicing the moves that cause the most problems for older drivers. As drivers get above 75 years old a mandatory defensive driving course could be required. The older driver could have privileges taken away in a similar manner. As the driver’s eyesight is diminishing, the restriction of only daytime driving might be implemented. As privileges are taken away the cost of the license should be reduced. If we as a society take away the rights of older drivers to drive, the older generation will loose some of their freedom. For some elderly citizens, driving is only way for them to go to the doctor and to buy groceries.
A final alternative, like medical tests for older drivers has not worked. These ideas have to be voted on by the public and since the public is getting older, it has been voted down. They would be voting to limit their rights. The most frequent offences reported by DMV are slow reaction time and vision problems; these should be regularly monitored and tested. Many older drivers may just welcome the chance to brush up on their driving skills. Many drivers learned to drive when many fewer drivers were on the road and the roadways were less complicated. We can not isolate elderly drivers, for some it is the only transportation available to them.
In conclusion, I think a combination of the alternatives is the best way to go. Drivers over the age of 65 would renew their licenses every two years and they can have their eyes examined at that time. An optional defensive driving course could be offered. As a driver reaches the age of 75 a driving this test would be mandatory. A mandatory test should be given for elderly drivers between 65-75 with questionable driving records. These changes can be implemented over the next four years. In order to see if these changes are doing well, statistics of senior citizens driving records from 2000-2004 can be compared to those of 1995-1999. If the number of accidents and citations has gone down the state governments will know that the changes have worked.