Saturday, July 7, 2007

When should an Elderly Driver give up driving?

Would this be the vision of an elderly driver? I am in New Jersey after my previous post on Veteran Taxi-Drivers and had read the May 2 edition of USA Today. It had the feature story of “Stopping older, dangerous drivers a growing problem” (you need to purchase the article to read it in its entirety).

The issue is serious enough to be the cover story on USA Today’s front page. The case featured was a 90-year old lady drove past a red light near her home in Dallas and crashed into another car driven by a 17-year old girl who was going to school to take a test. She died five days later and her family pushed the Texas Legislature to pass a bill to tackle bad elderly drivers.

As our population ages, there are more elderly drivers on our roads and the attention to ensure safety will be increasingly important. Aging affects our mechanical reflexes, visual acuity and ability to focus - all these capabilities are integral to safe driving. Although elderly drivers are slower but their misjudgement at intersections posed much risk to the other drivers who are going at higher speed.

Drivers above the age of 65 years old have to pass the medical examination every three years mandated by the Traffic Police to renew their driving license. Should more be required on the elder drivers? I strongly feel so especially using on-road assessment and also involving their family members who are able to monitor their health status during the three years between medical examinations. The ability to quickly respond to illness symptoms and near-misses is essential to assure road safety for all.
(originally posted on WordPress blog on May 5, 2007)

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