David Rosenfield said, ÃÂÃÂWhile age does not determine a personÃÂÃÂs ability to operate an automobile, evidence suggests that certain characteristics associated with aging impair driving performanceÃÂÃÂ (Changes Advocated.) Automobile accidents caused by an elderly person are a recurring problem. This can be hazardous to pedestrians and fellow driverÃÂÃÂs alike. That is why there needs to be laws and new qualifications for elderly people to keep their licenses.
People age 70 and older have more motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people than other groups except people younger than twenty-five (Elderly Driving.) People younger than twenty-five have wrecks mainly due to carelessness. Old age is the main factor that causes elderly people to have accidents behind the wheel. As people age, their senses and reaction time dulls over time. Sight is probably the most common, yet serious, physical disability a person experiences once they get older.
Even with glasses or other sight enhancing solutions, there are other factors that bring about accidents with elderly drivers such as reaction time.
A few seconds earlier or a few seconds later could mean saving a life or prevent an accident from occurring all together. Certain medications taken by elderly people have side effects that impair driving abilities. For example, benzodiazephines, commonly taken for anxiety and insomnia, may cause confusion, drowsiness, decreased motor coordinations and impaired memory (Changes Advocated.) Many elderly people do not know that their medications are causing these effects.
On several occasions my friends and I have experienced the wrath of an elderly driver unaware of their mistakes. There have been times where I halted at a stop sign and an elderly driver comes driving at or past me as if they didnÃÂÃÂt know the stop sign was even there. Other experiences of elderly driving mistakes include the driver switching lanes and not paying attention to who they might be running off the road. Jimmy Keen of Ardmore, OK recalled ÃÂÃÂan old lady pulling out in front of him in the rain causing him to jump the curb and hit a tree (Keen.)ÃÂÃÂNo state now requires a mental or competency test as a prerequisite for obtaining or sustaining a driverÃÂÃÂs license once a certain age is attained (Changes Advocated.) There should be a way to point out an older personÃÂÃÂs different problems that affect their driving performance. By a certain age, there should be a medical examination for obtaining a license renewal or after an accident because of traffic violations. By requiring the examination at a certain age, you can eliminate the possibility of an elderly individual being to prideful to show up. Discounts on insurance could be given to those who pass driverÃÂÃÂs safety course.
So many things could be done in order to prevent accidents from happening with elderly people behind the wheel. ItÃÂÃÂs only a matter of enforcing these rules or showing elderly people now to take more precautions. By bringing about new laws and qualification for elderly people, the streets could become one more step safer and accidents could be prevented.
Works CitedElderly Driving. 30 Jan 2005. Homepage. 19 Feb. 2007. http://www.luks.org/depts/iryprev1Breakpoint/bp-v3-5.htmlChanges advocatedin licenserenewals for elderly. May 06. homepage. 19 Feb. 2007.