Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel

In the next 20 years the number of elderly drivers (persons 70 & over) is predicted to triple in the United States. As age increases, older drivers generally become more conservative on the road. Many mature drivers modify their driving habits (for instance to avoid busy highways or night-time driving) to match their declining capabilities. However, statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections.

Research on age-related driving concerns has shown that at around the age of 65 drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a vehicle crash. After the age of 75, the risk of driver fatality increases sharply, because older drivers are more vulnerable to both crash-related injury and death. Three behavioral factors in particular may contribute to these statistics: poor judgement in making left-hand turns; drifting within the traffic lane; and decreased ability to change behavior in response to an unexpected or rapidly changing situation.

Concern about the increased number of older drivers and their potentially decreased driving abilities is growing, especially among younger drivers. Statistics, based on all people injured or killed in traffic crashes, indicate that older drivers are at a disproportionate risk for becoming involved in fatal crashes. A NHTSA study of 1995 FARS (Fatal Accident Reporting System) data reports that senior citizens accounted for:

  • 5% of all people injured in traffic crashes
  • 13% of all traffic fatalities
  • 13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities
  • 18% of all pedestrian fatalities

In a 1997 NHTSA study, older people made up 9 percent of the population but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. NHTSA's "Traffic Safety Facts 1997: Older Population" (DOT HS 808 769) reports that:

  • In 1997, more than 24 million people in the United States were over 70 years of age.
  • Representing 9 percent of the population in 1997, the 70-and-older age group grew 2.1 times faster from 1987 to 1997 than the total population.
  • In 1986 older drivers were 7 percent of licensed drivers; in 1996 they were 19 percent of licensed drivers.
  • Of traffic fatalities involving older drivers, 82 percent happened in the daytime, 71 percent occurred on weekdays, and 75 percent involved a second vehicle.
  • When a crash involved an older driver and a younger driver, the older driver was 3 times as likely as the younger driver to be the one struck. Moreover, 28 percent of crash-involved older drivers were turning left when they were struck-- 7 times more often than younger drivers were struck while making left turns.
  • Older drivers involved in fatal crashes and fatally injured older pedestrians claimed the lowest proportion of intoxication--defined as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 grams per deciliter or higher.
  • While only 55 percent of adult vehicle occupants (ages 18 to 69) involved in fatal crashes were using restraints at the time of the crash, 70 percent of fatal- crash-involved older occupants were using restraints.
  • "On the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old."

Statistics show that in two-vehicle fatal crashes involving an older and a younger driver, it is 3.1 times as likely that the vehicle driven by the older person will be struck. In 27% of these two-vehicle fatal crashes the older driver was turning left. Drivers over 65, along with new teen-age drivers, have the highest accident rates per miles driven. Another NHTSA study found that on the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old.

Lawrence Nitz, a political scientist from the University of Hawaii, conducted a three-year study of Hawaiian traffic records and found that drivers over 75 were far more likely than other motorists to be cited for certain offenses, including failing to yield to pedestrians, backing up unsafely and failing to stop at a flashing red light.

What is being done to address the problem?

Mandatory driving tests - California, which requires retesting for anyone involved in a fatal crash or three or more crashes in one year, requires drivers over 70 to retest if they are involved in two or more crashes in one year. Proposals in several other states to toughen licensing requirements for older drivers have been thwarted by senior-citizen lobbying groups (AARP & others), who say age-based measures are discriminatory. They claim that a person's chronological age is not an accurate predictor of driving ability. The lobbyists argue that if seniors are forced to take mandatory roadtests in the absence of an incident, other age groups should be required to take them as well.

Deficit reporting laws - Pennsylvania is one state that has a physician's reporting law, requiring physicians to report disabilities that may affect driving ability. Some physicians, however, are reluctant to jeopardize their relationship with a patient by making such a referral. Most other states do not require physicians to report psycho-motor, visual, and cognitive deficiencies that may affect driving to licensing agencies.

What else can be done?

  • Deficit screening - Screening could be given to all drivers for whom age-related decline is suspected and whose performance is viewed as a safety concern for themselves and other motorists. In addition, health professionals and others who work with older populations could administer the tests. Screening could become a part of the regular process of license renewal. By reducing testing time, drivers could be quickly screened and identified either as capable, or as in need of further testing.
  • Crash statistics - DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and insurance company records can help identify high-risk older drivers. In addition to crash counts, the details of the crash (roadway condition, time of day, location, fault) are important. Some crash patterns (e.g., the driver stopped in the middle of the roadway) may be better predictors of future crashes than others. Given that many older drivers involved in crashes have never had a crash before and may not have another one during the following year, crash records will identify only a few high-risk older drivers. However, crash statistics may be an important part of a comprehensive program to identify high-risk older drivers.

What can you do? - You may wonder about older friends and family members' performance on the road. You want to support their continued mobility but on the other hand you worry about their driving abilities. Unfortunately we don't all retain the ability to drive a car throughout our lifetime. Physical disabilities, mental illness, medications, loss of vision, or frailty can end anyone's driving career prematurely. Before you bring up the subject, keep in mind that the thought of losing a driver's license is very disturbing to most older people. Americans rely upon their cars to get to work, go to the doctor, go shopping, and visit their friends and relatives. The elderly equate losing their driving privileges with being dependent, feeling trapped, perhaps losing choice, control, and spontaneity in life. Discussing driving skill with an older person requires great diplomacy.

AgeQuest, a specialty firm addressing the training needs of professionals in the field of aging, older adults, and family caregivers, suggests in its publication "Supporting the Mature Driver" that the decline of skills necessary for safe driving sometimes occurs suddenly or subtly. Signs may include a pattern of close calls, violations or collisions, increasing difficulty in noticing pedestrians, signs, objects, or other vehicles; an observable decline in physical abilities; or a rapid onset of fatigue from driving.

Older drivers need to be aware that medications can significantly impair their driving by making them drowsy or distracted. Physicians and pharmacists should be consulted before starting new medications, to see if the drug can affect the ability to drive. Since side effects are often worse for the first few days of a new medication, people should avoid driving until they know exactly how a new drug affects them. If any medication causes sleepiness or disorientation, someone else should do the driving.

Eyes change with age. They lose the ability to focus quickly. Peripheral vision narrows and the retina becomes less sensitive to light. Physical activity is needed to keep a person strong and flexible for those quick reactions needed while driving. To be a safe driver, paying attention to road conditions and your own body changes is essential. A person's chronological age is not an absolute predictor of driving ability, but its impact should not be denied. Ultimately, however, what counts on the road is performance.

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A Victim's Response

As it has been stated, driving is a privilege not a right!Moreover, it is a fact that vision and the ability to respond quickly to changing road conditions decline with age. Yes, there are drivers of younger generations who cause accidents by driving reckless and irresponsibly. But that is the point, these drivers are capable of driving differently, better. On the other hand, elderly drivers who are no longer suitable for the roads, are driving to the best of their ability. It is long overdue for each state to adapt laws that require vision and reaction testing at specific ages based on statistics of behavior and biological changes. And shame on healthcare providers who are aware of these seniors who should not be driving. Shame on the police officers who assist elders to remain on the roads by reducing citations or by not issuing them at all. The medical community and the judicial system has more power than the average citizen to aid in revoking their licenses. I was rear-ended by an elderly woman of 79 years in 2007. I was waiting for the traffic to clear to make a left turn. She plowed into my vehicle, totaling it. For three years, I have been rehabilitating. I suffered a concussion, cervical spine injury that cause migraines, back injury and nerve damage. In addition, I experienced memory loss, cognition problems, and reduced reading rate. It has been a long road to recovery. At one point, I didn't know how I was going to live in such bad shape. Each injury has a host of resulting issues. For instance, migraines cause sensitivity to light and sound. It was more than two years before the ringing in my ears improved. And there was a time that I could not recall what I had done 30 minutes prior. Let's consider how I was effected financially. I could not work, exhausting my savings. I lost my vehicle which I had just paid-off and was waiting for the title. I can go on-and-on about all that I have suffered at the hands of someone who 'wants' to keep driving even though she can't see a vehicle with a red blinking light and brake lights ahead! She counldn't even see it as she became closer to my vehicle. This woman NEVER even tried to stop, she attempted to drive through my car! And to top it off, she was fine and her vehicle had minimal damage. So, I don't know how many more people will have to be seriously injured or killed before our lawmakers admit elderly driving is a serious problem.

elderly driving

i think elderly people should re take the driver's ed course because they do not have clear vision and they may cause 50% of the car crashes.

Elderly Driving

I honestly think that they shouldn't be allowed to drive on interstates if they drive more than 10 mph under the speed limit. I also have noticed that it seems like most elderly people subtract 5 mph of the speed limit. They should also have a restricted license that says they are not allowed to drive on interstates. I also think that everyone 65 years and older should be required to take a driving test every year. However, I don't think they should be required to renew their license. They are so expensive and every year would be just a little too much. If the driver happens to fail the test, their family should have to come and pick them up and be the one who gets the keys to their family members car.

they should be allowed to drive

i think they should be able to drive because they have the right and if they any problem they should be get tested and and if they they don'they should get a driver driver ad go where ever they want to

Why?

Elderly people are the focus of driving reform, because they are the only age group that, by testing will actually affect accident rates. elderly people cause accidents because with age they can lose the ABILITY to drive safely. They lose sight, hearing, reaction time, and the mental ability to drive. that is why they should be retested every few years. Im not against having all drivers tested either. Some of the most dangerous drivers on the road are younger drivers. But testing younger drivers would be ineffective because most have the ABILITY to drive. Driving tests wont catch young dangerous drivers because, it only tests whether they have the ability to drive safely. Young drivers cause accidents because they CHOOSE not to drive safely. A driving test wont find drivers who drink and drive, txt while driving, etc. Because no one is going to be stupid enough to do that during a driving test. Young drivers have already been tested if they KNOW how to drive but there is no way of testing whether they CHOOSE to drive safely.

ms.

It seems it is the people under the age of 65 that is doing most of the complaining about the so-called elderly driving.....
When the doctor told my dad that he couldn't drive any more, my dad lost interest in living.
When any of you that are skeptical about it, reach that age...you'll change your views about it.

Elderly driving

I totally agree with this. My husband was almost run over by an elderly man today. I was shocked
by this incident. He started moving the car
even when he saw my husband was trying to cross the road. He did not even have green signal. If he can't see an object moving even from a feet
away, he should'nt be driving the car in the first place!! Period. I gave him a piece of my mind!

Elderly Drivers = BIIIIG NO NO!!!

First of all, Kathleen, teenage drivers should not have their licenses taken away because they would not ever attain the experience need to become a 'good adult driver'. I myself am a straight A student, 16 years old, and quite responsible.

There are so many facts and statistics that reinforce the act of removing the elderly's license if they are diagnosed accoordingly. I have witnessed many ignorant elderly drivers on our roads for many years of my life. I strongly support the testing!

I think I could take all of these comments more seriously

I think I could take all of these comments more seriously if they used proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

I also believe this article poses another question: If we're wanting to take the licenses of the elderly away, why don't we want to take away the licenses of the teenage population? They certainly cause enough accidents. They are reckless, distracted, and inexperienced. Why are they being allowed to drive if the elderly are not? They seem to pose just as much of a threat.

Honestly, anyone who is claiming that EVERY elderly person or EVERY teenage driver should be banned from driving is straight up delusional. There is no way anyone should be blasting an age demographic as a whole for any reason, but the fact remains that it is a smart, responsible idea to institute a series of tests to gauge the eligibility of certain drivers to be on the road.

But I DO have to tell every person posting about how 'NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE MYYY LICENSE AWAY FROM ME!' to get their collective heads out of their asses. If you, or an elderly loved one in your life, is physically unfit to be driving due to any number of diseases or degenerating senses, you have to face the reality of the world and realize that no one wants you making our roads unsafe, or at least unnecessarily more unsafe than they already are.

Also, there is no point in trying to tell me to wait until I am 75 years old and see how SHOCKED and APPALLED I will be when a qualified professional informs me that I am no longer fit to drive. I, and many others, have what's called sensibility and are able to swallow our pride in order to lessen the risks to fellow human beings. If you are unable to do that, then you don't belong anywhere near our roads, our neighbourhoods, or cities. We have no use for you.

Elderly awareness

Elderly people should not be allowed to drive if they are above the age of 80. For their sakes and ours, they should be tested to see if it is safe for them to go out on these dangerous roads. Statistics show that elderly people are more likely to get in accidents than younger people. I'm not ragging on the the elderly. I'm just saying they need to be careful on the roads and get tested to see if they can safely drive.

elderly drivers tested

the whole point of this argument is to get the elderly drivers who cant physically perform to the correct standards; not take all the licenses away from the elderly. i wont deny that some older drivers are better because of the experience but you cant sit there and say that there aren't elderly drivers who will cause major accidents because they wont accept that fact that their motor skills are shot. if they really think that we are being discriminatory, then why dont we have everyone retake the test when they have to renew their license. problem solved.

My Grandpa

The other day, my grandpa was driving me to my high school and all of the sudden swerved into the other side of the road ON PURPOSE!!! There was a bicyclist riding in the bike lane and my grandpa said that he rode into the street. He didn't. There were no other cars on the other side of the road at the time so we didn't die, but if there was a car, we would have been KILLED!!! Elderly drivers should have to retake a test to make sure that innocent people do get involuntarily MURDERED!!!!!

My Parents Senile Driving Freaks me out!

My Father is 87, senile, and is still driving. Lately, He drives to rent houses. at least 4 in 3 states. in the last 40 days. They have no money since the spend it all on deposits and uhaul trucks. Dad got lost for 5 hours when he went to rnt a uhaul and move his tools from the place he rented on the 14th to the place he rented on the first. He got lost for 5 hours and cops in 3 states were looking for him. Found him. Gave him a memory test which he passes with flying colors so cop says follow me I will lead you back to the freeway. All went well until my Dad forgot about the cop and everything else, and got on the freeway going the wrong way. When same cop stopped him with no one hurt thank God. Drove him home, neighbor went to retrieve their truck. Gave them the truck, Daddy went out and drove it again that next morning. My elder sister is supposed to be watching out for them, My brother says they can live there until he realized the question was for real and he said no. My sister in charge has a farm but does not see why they need to have their keys removed. and their truck taken away.

Elderly and accidents

Most elderly can drive normally but yes some of the elderly drivers have a hard time getting around, but they wont admit it.
I beleilve that there should be another test, because some elderly have a hard time staying on their feet while walking; so if they cant walk they are in too much danger to drive!!

Test away

Yes they need testing. I just asked my eye Dr. because I am writing a paper in college. He told me that heis own grandfather would be driving with his grandmother riding shotgun and telling him what he should be doing, GO, STOP Ect that is scary.Some of the few states that have testing do not require it till age 75 or later. How much help is that when the average lifespan is only 77. Testing should start at 65 then every 4 years max there after. If you have no problems then you should have nothing to fear. My mother drove when she had Alzheimer's and had no idea where she was going. We took her keys and that was it.

GET MY GRANDMA OFF THE ROAD!

My grandmother Thelma is 88 years old and I do not believe she is capable of driving any longer. She is not a highly functioning 88 either, as she has dementia (why hasn't her doctor told her to stop driving?!). Our family pleas with her to stop driving, and offers to drive her anywhere she needs to go, but she refuses to give up her independence. We ask her to only drive in the day time if she insists on driving, but she drives at night anyway. I refuse to ride in the car when she drives because I know it's not safe, but I can't do anything to help the people in other cars! She gets confused often at 4-way stops, forgets what some signals mean (like flashing red or yellow lights), and does not have a quick reaction time. I know there is no way that she would pass if she had to retake a driving test.

I understand that older people want the freedom to drive just as much as I do, and that some are quite capable. Others, like my grandmother, are not. My grandmother is a terrible driver, but as long as she is legally permitted to drive, she refuses to give up her keys.

My grandma's not alone, either. Just yesterday I was exiting the freeway on a one-way off ramp when an elderly driver got confused and attempted to enter the freeway using my off ramp! Fortunately, we were both driving pretty slowly, but at higher speeds their mistake could have been deadly.

I think we would be better off if we make elderly drivers (70+) retake their driving and visions tests every few years. No, it's not much fun to do, but it takes less than an hour and could save a lot of lives. Hopefully I too will be an elderly person someday, and will be happy to retest even if I'm still an excellent driver, knowing that retesting will weed out others (and possibly myself) who shouldn't be behind the wheel.

Obviously, there are plenty of drivers who should not be licensed. If you drive under the influence, text or make phone calls, put on makeup, or do anything else that causes you to be distracted, you're not a great driver (even if you feel you're good at doing these things while driving). The reason I don't demand more driving tests for these people is that they know very well they shouldn't be doing these things and know how to behave during a driving test, so retesting this group would be of little benefit. The elderly, on the other hand, often pay close attention while driving, but don't always understand their surroundings. Enforced retesting after 70 would help weed out the older people who are no longer fit to drive. As for the others, they already face penalties when caught by the police, but should face even harsher penalties when they cause an accident (licence removal, inprisonment). This may sould extreme, but we all take a small gamble every time we go out for a drive. Minimizing the risks makes it a little easier for me to buckle my daughter into the back seat of my car.

The senior's should not have

The senior's should not have their license taken, but they should take the test to be sure that they are capable to drive

Oh, hey, I'm writing coursework, too.

After reading most of the comments on this site, I pondered the idea of such tests. My grandfather, who is almost 82 (at the time of writing) still drives, and has been doing so for a very long time. Like "most" elderly people, he has a slight hearing problem, but this is not serious enough to have his license taken away. With the majority of people on this site agreeing with this movement, I must state my opinion. I, too, am writing a piece of coursework on this subject, (I don't drive, either, I'm 14). I think, like most people, that elderly people should be tested on their reaction times, eyesight and hearing yearly, even if I think that my grandfather is a reasonably good driver. I must also thank all of you for posting your opinions online, so I can get a bigger range of opinions, rather than just my own.

well...

I think that there should be mandatory driving tests yearly for everyone not just elderly although they are included, i mean teens have road rage issues and the elderly have their old people probs, and the rest of us have plenty of other issues with driving - i dont believe that there is a such thing as a perfect driver. i mean really. lol

everybody

Every driver should have to do a driving test every year!!! We all pick up bad driving habits, I bet we all dont drive like we did when we were being tested. Any who disagrees with this point is probably a rubbish driver. If you are confident you are a good safe driver you will have no problem putting your skills to test.

agree and disagree

I am the son of a 75 year old man. I understand all to well how we rely on driving and the independence it represents for him. Is he safe to drive. For the past 3 years, my whildren are not allowed to be in the car with him driving.

Recently several friends of his have reported to me that he is not safe to drive. He wants to drive yet knows he is not as good. His ego argues this with him. I know from speaking with his doctor and seeing first hand symptoms that he is unfit. Luckily I live in California, which has a process in place to deal with these issues.

Family and friends are responsible in my eyes to either speak with the person whom they are concerned with or report them to the DMV in my eyes.

My father is likely to get into an accident at speed in a heavy car and kill or maim someone. As his son and next of kin, I take my responsibility seriously to ensure this does not happen. While it is hard, and my own ego hurts, for him it is very hard. I will and am seeking the revocation of his license.

I think what is important, is a clear and rapid system to help those whom see the bad behavior, the poor skills which may cause an accident to get these people tested. 60, 70 doesn't matter. We as a society need to accept responsibility for our elderly family and friends, no matter how difficult.

Dear senior driver

If you can drive just as good as anyone, what's wrong with taking a test? Are you afraid it would take ___ minutes out of your 4,525,600 minute, year every few years?

Socail Responsibility

Between illness and related treatment drugs, my family is trying to deal with a senior family member who can barely walk, but still periodically insists on getting behind the wheel and driving -- and no, they will not listen to reason about hanging up their keys. Some dementia has also set in. How can anybody expect someone in this state to make socially responsible decisions about whether they are fit to drive? I saw my grandparents do the same thing -- continue driving for many years beyond their abilities. So far, no fatalities have occurred -- is it reasonable that we need to wait for something like that to happen before anything can be done ? I am a member of AARP (but not for long) -- and I am disgusted by their irresponsible, self-centered, one-sided, position on this matter -- everyone needs to wake up to their money-generating motives.

Nobody is saying that just because you are old you cant drive...

...but everyone is saying that statistically you are more likely to get in a crash than a younger driver. I'm cracking up at all of these older people getting so defensive. Nobody is actively trying to take away your license and independence. This is for your safety, too, remember. Plus, if you are a good driver like you claim to be, GREAT! KEEP DRIVING! Drive until you're 150 for all I care as long as you're still in good enough health so that you're not putting anybody in danger. I'm not an elderly person so to be honest I don't know what it's like to be in your situation, but I can tell you at any age I would much rather take a test and prove to myself and others that I'm not a hazard than to be responsible for a death that could have been prevented. Stop taking things to personally and realize that these tests aren't meant to target old people, just old people who shouldn't be driving anymore.

You know why 16 year-olds are required to pass a driving test in the US in order to get a license? Because statistically 16 year olds are more dangerous on the road than other age groups and it would be absolutely insane to let them drive without any regulation or testing. You know why elderly people should be required to pass a driving test? Because statistically the elderly are more dangerous on the road than other age groups and it IS absolutely insane to let them continue to drive without any regulation. Cars are fantastic and have changed the world over the last 100 years, but that doesn't mean that they're not also deadly machines in the wrong hands. If you're not going to put anyone in danger when behind the wheel, please at least just cooperate so that we can weed out the people who will.

Most ederly people should NOT be on the road

Some may consider driving a right. This opinion is wrong, driving is a privilege. When one is creating danger for themselves and other drivers they should no longer be allowed behind the wheel. I understand that people do not easily accept their faults, this is why a mandatory retest needs to be in place for driver's over the age of 65. As we all know cognitive and reaction skills deteriorate as we age. This makes driving dangerous for the elderly. I have encountered and have nearly been ran off the road too many times by elderly drivers. In fact today, a man traveling about 15mph in a 45 zone, decided to slam on his breaks, halting about a dozen drivers behind him. This man was clearly a bit off and does not need to be driving. After a few cars started to honk, he exited his car, stood in the middle of the road and made faces at the line of cars he had abruptly stopped. He then starting yelling that we all needed to slow down that we were going to cause an accident....we were doing 10-15mph in a 45mph zone because of him, which is not only illegal but very dangerous, not to mention he was holding up traffic in a very congested area. Driving is a privilege to those who can operate a vehicle within the law. All the posts stating that all people with a driver's license, regardless of age should be allowed to drive need to take a look at all the statistics regarding collisions and fatal car crashes in America. Last I checked, elderly drivers more than surpassed teenagers in auto accidents. I know that not all elderly people are dangerous behind the wheel and some have raised a fuss about the proposed retest. I can only hope that they too will soon see the dangers. If you're a good senior driver and still mindfully sharp, then why would a retest affect you, what's the big deal? You have nothing to worry about if you are a good driver. What worries me are those who deep down know they shouldn't be driving but are too selfish to recognize it, as well as those who have no regard for others and think that no matter what they will continue to drive. Retesting the elderly does not mean 65+ will not be allowed to drive. It simply means that our roads will be safer without the elderly that cause hazards for other motorists. We all must pass an exam before we're allowed to drive and I fully support all who believe elderly drivers should be retested.

Concerned

I have to prepare a persuasive speech in which i chose this topic exactly. Once a person reaches the age of 65 they should have to have some sort of testing to prove that they are capable of driving. I feel that a health exam, a physical driving test, and a written test to ensure they know the rules and signs of the roads is acceptable. After the age of 65, there is just an extreme amount of problems that can occur to a person. Mainly vision and hearing impairment, there ability to react quickly diminishes, and usually they are using 1 or more medications which can cause drowziness and dizziness. I feel strongly about this because my Grandfather was backing up from my driveway and there was a school bus right behind him letting a child off the bus. A big yellow school bus, right behind him and he almost hit it because he could not see it. This is a huge concern of mine and i would not want anyone to loose their loved ones or own life due to this.

The point.

To you that are missing the point! We are not saying all elderly people should not be driving, just that they should be tested more frequently for the safety of all. Those like you that refuse to see the big pitcher in all this, should feel a bit of responsibility for the next person that is killed due to an elderly driver that should not be on the road. And don’t tell me, you have never witnessed an elderly driver that you thought, your-self, should not be on the road.

Older people driving

People are overlooking the fact that young people cause many wrecks too, especially teen agers. Should we ban Teenagers from driving? I am 49, and many many times I have seen young people taiigate me for going the speed limit; constantly changing lanes in an unsafe manner, talking on the cell phone, texting, etc. A young person can get in the exact same accident, but gets a free pass. 65 is not old. Agreed, if a senior citizen or young person has a medical condition making driving unsafe, that person should not drive. For the young people, just remember you too will become old. Do you want to treated the same way?

Yes, I do hope my children

Yes, I do hope my children care enough to take action if and or when I become an unsafe driver...So to answer your question yes, we will get old as well and yes we do expect the same treatment, it's not about being old or young, the concern here is safety....do you want your grandchildren sharing the same road with an unsafe driver. I know I don't, It's hard, I understand but the main topic and concern is SAFETY ON THE ROADS, FOR YOU FOR ME FOR OUR LOVED ONES....

i dont have any problem with

i dont have any problem with older people driving. But it think it does effect their proformances as their eyes deteriorate it should be checked. i think that also as they get older longer distances tire them easier. for example my auntie is only 67 but she has had a stroke and has effected her alot. Her driving especially as she finds it hard to drive for long distances. i think she is an ok driver ocasionally too slow and it does annoy me as she can go below the speed limit. i am not saying older people should stop driving but i think that there should be more tests in place to help them improve their driving or to let them know they should stop.

My Dad

My Dad is 82 and living with us. He just went to get his Texas drivers license renewed and was asked about his medical history. He was going to lie about medical problems. But fortunately our son - his grandson was with him and spoke up to the licensing personnel. They are requiring him to take a driving test.
Dad is upset and says he probably will not be able to pass the test.
I told him that is point of the matter.
If he can't pass the test then he does not need to drive.
If he were to hurt or kill innocent people by him being able to continue to drive because he got his drivers license because we did not speak up - I would feel terrible.
It is not easy. But for me - I cannot let him continue driving if he can't pass the test.

Broaden the scope...

The elderly are at higher risk for crashes...agreed. BUT - let's not forget all the other people causing crashes out there. My solution is to require EVERYONE to retest (written, eye test, AND driving) upon time for their license to be renewed, normally every four years. Then at age 65, require the retesting every two years. At age 71 and up, every one year. I would also put in there that a person can reacquire their license if they can pass the tests. BUT...3 failures in a row and your retesting privileges are revoked.

Maybe that's a little harsh, but there are a lot of dangerous people of all age groups behind the wheels of cars.

Facing Reality

I'm over 70, and do not drive at all anymore. I made the decision some years back because of increasing mobility problems with my legs (my hands still work fine) and must show considerable care and observation just to walk at all. I was raised to think it is the "job" of older people to watch out for the younger ones, including teaching them how to reason well, so to be the reason one of them may be hurt by me is just not acceptable --i.e. in order to keep my personal mobility. Daily, I force myself to walk, slowly, to the grocery store about 1 mile away.

HERE IS MY GRIPE: Everything in our culture revolves around the "need" to be able to drive, and I mean literally everything! Communities are not oldster friendly ...examples: walk signals are too brief (I can't do track anymore), curbs are too high (though I have memories of scaling mountains years ago), no benches to sit on along the streets (it takes me six rest stops just to get to the grocery store), businesses respond negatively if old people stop in just to cool off (we overheat faster than younger people), the first steps into buses are too high (I have to pull myself up them), literally no toilets in sight anywhere in route (many of us can't hold it very long anymore), unable to enter some places because there are no ramps or elevators (flights of stairs just don't cut it for us), centralized shopping malls are miles away (for me it is three bus transfers and four hours each way just to get a pair of shoes, or go to the library), etc. All of this does not even begin to address the sociological issues around "not" driving ...family 15 miles away off the bus routes, and too busy driving everywhere with their friends to stop by / the rudeness of clerks because it takes me longer to move along / being "invisible" in public places / physical safety and not being viewed as a potential victim. Right, so many of us can't drive anymore, shall we sit down and discuss some solutions that will help it be OK not to drive?

senior driving tests needed every few years

I survived a car crash thanks to my car's air bags last week. A 76 year old lady was driving in the opposite direction as me on a busy 35 mph street. It was during the day, clear weather and I had my head lights on for safety. She made a left hand turn "directly" in front of my car, leaving me only five feet to hit my brakes. The airbag caused a severe burn on my wrist when it brushed against my wrist at 200 mph, to lessen the impact of the crash. It will take several weeks for the 24/7 excruciating pain to go away, and I might need to have skin graft surgery. Drivers aged 65 and older should be required to take a behind the wheel driver's test, or a simulator behind the wheel driver's test every few years to screen for hazardous drivers. As we age our vision decreases, our concentration decreases, and our reaction time decreases. In the meantime, if anyone has a parent or grandparent who is a dangerous driver, please don't wait for them to hurt or kill innocent victims! Please, please take the keys away and drive the car to another family members home to keep in storage. I had to take my Father's keys away and store his car at my home, to keep him safe, and all other drivers.

Cyclists Know

I don't drive, I use public transit in the winter and my bicycle the rest of the time.

It is well known among the cycling community that the worst drivers wear hats and we play safe when we see them coming.

Hat #1: A baseball cap worn backwards usually associated with a male teenager. These can be heard before seen because of the loud car sound system and the muffler that makes more noise than a motorcycle.

Hat #1 usually exceeds speed limits and makes minimal (if ever) stops at stop signs. They tend to "hug you" onto the curb while "bleeping" you out for being on the road.

Hat #2: A Fedora style hat (or a Queen Elisabeth hat) usually associated with older drivers. These are sneaky because you can't hear them coming from the back, but damage usually occurs from the front.

Hat #2 usually has poor eyesight and speed estimation. They will turn left in front of you, cross an intersection when not in priority or just plain open the driver door without looking in the mirror. Hat #2 usually causes more damage than Hat #1 to riders.

I support testing of 65+ drivers every 2-4 years.
Should they get their license yanked, the city/state/country MUST provide them with a free public transit pass.
Obviously, in more rural areas, that is not ideal.
But solutions can be found.

reasonable, not reactionary

This is an interesting page, with many interesting comments as well. I found this page when I was searching for a way to discuss with my elderly parents getting rid of their car, and stop driving(!).
My mom has dementia(she is 80). This is a progressive condition. She is easy going, open to suggestion, doesn't wander, and doesn't like to drive anyway. I forsee getting the car away from her is easy. I know I am correct in this and I know it is time, things have progressed to that point. If it was just her, the car would be gone already.
My dad is 83 and has numerous heart problems and had multiple bypass surgery, is diabetic, has poor hearing, falls alseep easily, gets agitated quickly, has shaky hands and poor fine motor skills, has difficulty getting in and out of a chair(or car seat), has balance issues, can't walk any distance(more than 20ft. without stopping to catch breath), etc. etc, I could go on and on. He is stubborn and argumentative. He believes he is always right, in his mind, it's the other person who is at fault. My sister will not let my nieces and nephews ride with him. Neither I nor my three siblings will get in the car if he is driving.
Fortunately, in the state of Washington, there is a form for driver re-evaluation. I hope it dosn't come to that. I will be having the discussion with them this week.
I have no problem with senior drivers. That being said, I think drivers over 70 should get tested every 2 years, due to "normal" physical & mental changes as humans age. After 80, every year, or more so, in the case of surgery and/or medical conditons. I think the doctors of seniors need to be more proactive in refering their patients for re-evaluation if it is medically warranted. I would have no trouble with being tested when I reach those ages, it's very logical.
This is a touch subject to broach, but must be addressed. Driving is a privilage, not a right. We will all get to the point where we are not physically or mentally able to drive anymore, if we are lucky to live so long. I plan to age with as much grace as possible.

Help passing CELESTE LAW

I agree there are all kinds of bad drivers and accidents happen but my sister CELESTE GAITAN 33 her unborn child and a friend 28 were killed by a elderly man in Miami Fl on the morning of August 2nd of this year.
This man PEDRO RUIZ 75 was under the influence of medications while he decided to drive to a local strip mall were my sister owned a boutique. This man, while trying to park a huge SUV stepped on the gas, striking these two inocent victims who sitting on a bench without a chance to react at all.
The detective in charge of the investigation inmediatly told us : "This is obviously an accident"
How it's an accident stubbornly getting behind the wheel, knowing your reflexes are totally impared by the comsumption of medications.
Seniors driving with limited reflexes, under the influence of medications has become a problem of public health. Florida has a large population of seniors who receive a drivers license with just the click of a bottom from the comfort of their retierment homes.
My sister's death will not go in vain (My nephew's life aparently doesn't count in the eyes of the law just because he was in the womb when the tragedy happened so God forvides giving rights to fetuses so more women have the right to kill them with abortions, disgusting!!!) . We will do a little more than just mourning our loss and complaining about it. We will fight for a new law that regulates the age of drivers, periodic vision and mental screaning. Please goolgle my siter's name to know more about it and help us with this cause to save inocent lives.

A shattered family

I lost my 3y. old goddaughter and an aunt to a failing old men that was involved in 2 crashes in this same year.
As for the 2 other occupants, the mom spent a year in the hospital and the other occupant will never be the same.

The elderly was given his license back and life goes on for him.

The results of the inquiry proved that the elderly man lacked the reflex to brake in time. ( They were rammed in the back
while stopped on highway traffic ).

If I had to chose to drive on the roads where all drivers have 0.09% alcohol in their blood or only elderly folks, I would go for the first option. If they can pass a law in regards of alcohol and show results, why not find solutions for older folks?

Lastly, if you think a person of 70+ years have the same reflexes than the 18-65y bracket, then you are lying to yourself.

elderly drivers

I completely agree with you. I think I would honestly rather be on the road with drunks than old farts that can't move out of the car, much less in it. They cannot resond to changing events, judge distance, or stay in their own lane. If the person who rear-ended your family (may they rest in peace) were 18-21, they would be in jail for involuntary manslaughter, but because it was an elderly man, he was let go. It's such bull crap, and there needs to be annual tests for drivers over 65 in EVERY state. I was in a very bad accident in 2007 because an 88 year old man pulled out right in front of me on a four lane separated highway in which the speed limit was 55. I was doing like 60 and he was pulling out of a little shopping center and hit the gas instead of the brake, and later said that he never saw me. I was left with air bag burns, nerve damage in my shoulder, and a class three concussion (which I can still hardly remember anything to do with 2007-2008). Of course because at the time I was only 18, the newspapers, who reported about the accident because it shut the highway down completely for 2 hours, made the victim out to be the old man because he was taken to the hospital unconscious. It sickens me everytime I hear about an accident caused by an older person, and it honestly doesn't even bother me to find out when the elderly dies in accidents because they put others lives at risk everyday by driving. It is their own fault, and deserve what the outcome is, but unfortunately the outcome is normally against the innocent...

older driver

My dad has Alzheimer's and has been driving unsafely for at least two years. He goes through red lights, hit a curb turning right, drives too slow (which may be a good thing). Sometimes he has my mom and two grandchildren (4 and 18 months) in his car while driving. He has gotten lost going to places he has been going to for over 20 years. He couldn't find his own house twice in one day, missed an appointment because he got lost. He asked directions to my son's house which is also familiar. So far he can call me and find my house without a problem, only a few miles from his. Today I called his doctor and explained the situation. The doctor sent a letter to the DMV and apparently within two weeks he should get a letter saying he can't drive...I am dreading the day he gets that letter. I feel he will blame my mom for doing it which isn't true. I told my mom I will be available to take them where they need to go, and also my family can help out. It will be a major disappointment for him not to be able to just go out...don't like them to feel trapped in their own home and would love them to move next door to me. I feel SO guilty for doing this, but if it saves his life, and mom, the grandkids and anybody else's lives, it will be worth it. We all have to make these big choices at some point in our lives; it is very hard but if we don't make the right choice it will be on our conscience always and there would be regrets of what if.......

Lost my Daddy he was only 55.

An 90 year old lady driver killed my daddy, He died of internal bleeding he just turn 55 years 3 days before the accident, unfortunaly the doctors couldn’t save his life. I don’t have anything against older people, but I think it’s everybody specially their family responsibility to help them. Take away the keys, sell the car and get him a driver or find help for them. The lady survive the accident and she’s with her family, my Daddy is gone and left 3 kids and a beautiful wife. I ask for everyone to be responsible and help the elder people.

Passing A Test?

I think the best course of action is to have senior citizens in general to pass a deficit screening test every year or six months or so, to make sure they still have the skills and sufficient senses to operate a motor vehicle. People who are getting older start to notice that people look at them differently once they get older, people want to help them do everyday things, but in reality, older people are trying to hold on to as much of their human independance as they possibly can. i think thats why the elderly people who are commenting on this thread are responding they way they are, they are still people, who undertand that age takes away their independance, and all they wanna do is keep some of it. my great grandmother is 89, and the little things that she does around her house, she takes alot of pride in, because she can still do those things. laundry, dishes, making beds, taking the dogs out...etc. the little responsibilities that they can still do are what they hold onto, and whenever her daughter, or her grandaughter, or even me, try to help her, she refuses because she wants to hold onto the independance of doing things herself. Thats why older people get defensive over this topic. Take a screening test, plain and simple.

elderly and driving

I agree that as we age we need to be tested more often - that's a great solution. And I agree that unsafe drivers need to be taken off the road. On the other hand, I think we also need to figure out ways for the elderly to be able to be involved in life and have ways to get to the things they like to do. The isolation that I see around the elderly is unconscionable. I know some people push others away - but I think we have a very throw away mentality (and the sooner the better) about people who are older. We need to change the way we think about the elderly and thoughtfully take away the keys - but make sure that quality of life isn't trashed in the process.

Stop Senior drivers

For themselves, for those innocent yong life on the road. Everyone will become old. Face the turth, do what you should do of your age. You may have the right for your freedom, but you don't have the right to put other people in danger.

In my opinion, you all are

In my opinion, you all are selfishly arguing. You are too worked up in your own worlds that you have become blind to the world. I understand that you are all very worried about your parents and grandparents but what will quarreling do? Listen to the elderly's opinion. Do YOU think they'd want to stop driving? The elderly are limited to only a few things now that they are old. So, driving is the only thing left from their youth. Do you plan to take this away from them? If the elderly drive, they can fill their time with something to do. If they do not drive, they'd stay home all day. How will the elderly visit their grandchildren? My point is, despite your opinions, the elderly have a choice too. Please, don't take away their last bit of freedom.

Nobody is being selfish and

Nobody is being selfish and we are not trying to take any rights away from anyone. I think we are all just advocating SAFE driving. If you had a friend or a family member who got killed in a car accident because an elderly woman didn't believe that she had impaired vision, you wouldn't be writing these comments. Please visit baharfoundation.org, that website might change your mind.

You make a good point.

You make a good point. Quarreling is NOT the answer. However, un-emotional objective discussion about driving safety can lead to the SENIOR making the decision to give up driving. Older drivers hang on to the keys because, as you say, it is their last bit of freedom.

But what happens if someone does get hurt? If the older driver were given the choice of being hurt or hurting someone else, they would usually make the right choice and the choice is indeed theirs.

Families need to embark on constructive conversation about this. Instead of saying "you are a bad driver" it is more constructive to poing out what might be bad. OR, get a third party into the conversation to take the emotion out if it.

is anyone a safe driver today

the truth of the matter it is about safety, doesnt matter if your 18 to 80 if you are impaired in any form or fashion you should not be behind the wheel of a car. (some cases a death machine) their are drivers who claim they are good drivers and they talk on cells dont read road signs ect. but if every driver got pulled over by dot and was inspected they would probably see alot more unfit drivers. i think that everytime you renew your license you should be taken on on a hundred mile road trip with a dot officer to see if you follow the rules of the road. A dmv officer can not give a acurate assement of someone driving abilities with 10 minutes in a parking lot around cones.

in time, things change.

While older people may want to drive, it is a danger on the road. Their eyes are not as strong as they once were, and so they may not be able to see. Rules on the road change, conditions will be different. I say they should have to re-take the test, just as a precaution.

i agree with you all the way

i agree with you all the way because old people might be smart and wise but they also have many body changes take my grandmother for example she has had knee surgey twice but she still jumps in her blue ford focus.............

Elderly Drivers Driving Ability

There appears to be a consideration that we old ones need to re-take a driving test! I have been a member of the Advanced Motorist since 1987 and have never been responsible for causing an accident. I make sure I check my car before travelling, I have my eyesight checked every two years, and would welcome a new actual driving test at 70 years and a retest at 80 years. My age is 88 years and luckily have reasonable good health.
However I have been undertaken by much younger drivers, cut off at rounabouts by late decision making. Have had school run mothers jump red lights, fail to make any attempt to indicate where they wish to park especially outside our local school. God I have been lucky and look at the statistics, they confirm that nearly qualified drivers really do need a retest twelve months from first qualifying

Elderly

well i personally think that they should retake their drivers test because as Amanda said they are humans to but it doesn't mean they shouldn't retake their test. I'm sure that people would want to be safe and that's why they do it I totally respect the elderly, my grandmas don't drive because of other peoples safety.

Activist!!!

My 5 year old and I were almost killed Saturday by an 80 year old woman driving a 2004 Rondevoux who ran a stop sign at a very busy intersection. The stop sign has been there my whole life....25+years....She claimed that the accident was my fault even though i was traveling on a freeway that has no stop signs, then she claimed that the stop sign she ran never used to be there. She did eventually claim that she was at fault. My son came out untouched by the grace of God, I, however, am sustaining injuries that will effect me for the rest of my life.....however long that might be.....I may now have internal bleeding. I am still in the hospital and this woman has set a domino effect in motion that will change the course of my entire life and the life of my son. I WILL GO AFTER THIS SENILE WOMAN WITH EVERY RESOURCE I CAN: INSURANCE, SMALL CLAIMS, EVERYTHING!!!!! I WILL HAVE HER SOCIAL SECURITY!!!

Oh my God, are you okay??? I

Oh my God, are you okay??? I will pray for you. This is why elderly people should have to retake their tests every year. I hope you get better soon :)

Okay, most elderly people

Okay, most elderly people have Alzheimers and other diseases which cause them to crash. My grandpa has it and a while back I was in the car with him and some how, although I don't remember how, he started driving AGAINST traffic. We almost crashed and I thing elderly people should have to retake their drivers test every year once they pass 70, and that is why.

My Grandfather's record of driving

I believe that this should happen. I've experienced this problem first hand; my grandfather is 75 and has had many accidents and VERY close calls over the past four years. One occasion where he nearly struck a traffic director, I was in the car with him the poor guy had to JUMP out of the way to avoid getting hit because my grandfather was looking at a new gas station and was drifting to the side. During this same trip he also turned down a one way street and collided with an oncoming car. So I believe that testing for the elderly after the age of 65 would be much safer than letting them "run wild" on the streets

When you reach 65

It should be mandatory that if you want to continue to keep driving you must take a drivers test. Not only that but be required to do so every 5 or so years.

Swallow your pride and keep the roads safe.

This is coming from a server working at two assisted living facilities.

something to point out

if you think of it, the government parties would try avoiding this becoming a law for many reasons. For example;

* it could seem to be discrimination against that certain age group

*the government parties want votes (so lets say one third of votes is from a young age group another third from middle age and another third from elderly's) if this becomes a law it would make a lot of elderly people unhappy

Don't get me wrong, judging by my research (i'm doing an essay) i would most prefer a law for another driving test, i'ts just that i'm not very good at convincing.

The Numbers Don't Support the Argument

I really don't have much use for hopelessly slanted articles. The author notes seniors make up 9% of the population, then goes on to claim they cause 14% of accidents. Yet, when we read further, they are actually 19% of licensed drivers. Of course, the first quote, 9%, quite obviously includes a huge cross section of the population too young to drive. I think it goes without saying that grade school children and infants don't drive much. Still, I can recall times standing in a renewal line with people so infirm with age they couldn't pass a field sobriety test. 45,000 people are killed in traffic accidents in the US every year, doing a quarter trillion in property damage. IMO, licenses should be a lot harder to get and drivers should be retested on a fairly regular basis. The tests should be broken down into areas where not knowing the right answer can cause an accident and getting any of those answers wrong is an automatic failure. Taking the driving portion of the test over at least every 5 years should be mandatory starting at age 60.

We need to have yearly test on the eldery after 65.

It is to only ensure that they have good driving habits. It needs to be a very difficult test to make sure that if you are old you can drive and you know how to handle a vehicle in a appropriate manor. When I was 17 years old I was riding my bike to school and an elderly man came across the other side of the road and hit me head on with his minivan. After he stopped he stuck saw how hurt I was and left me in the street with no concern for what he did. I paid thousands in medical bills just so I can walk again and never did the police catch him. I hope that they catch him one day and make him pay for what he did I'm extremely lucky to be alive. I wouldn't even want my worst enemy to go thru the pain I did.

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