Should Elderly Drive?


The amount of accidents and fatalities caused by elderly drivers has increased and will continue to increase as the baby boomers hit age sixty-five. What makes it more interesting is most cases are without citations or jail time. Even when a fatality has occurred, senior citizens don’t seem to do any jail time. If it was you or me, you can pretty much count that we would be locked up. I can not understand why State Governments have not stepped up to change our current requirements for the privilege of driving a motor vehicle.

Elderly drivers account for a nearly 19% of all automobile accidents. This number is indeed staggering enough to have many people asking, should older drivers be allowed on the road? And if so, should they be retested more often than younger drivers? For some, the answers to these questions are quite clear. For others, they are subjects of much debate.

Some have proposed that older drivers should be required to retake the driving test at age 65, and then again every few years. This proposal certainly seems reasonable, given the current accident statistics. Where problems may occur would be in the fact that there is a fee to take the driving test. This fee helps to pay the salary of the driving testers. It may not be fair to ask senior drivers to pay this fee more often than others.

Another problem may be that the number of individuals needing to take a driving test would increase. This could place extra burdens on testing spots that are already extremely busy. Wait times could increase, and even those who are for more frequent testing for senior drivers could very well find themselves inconvenienced. Some may be willing to endure longer wait times, while others would not.

Would this be some form of discrimination? Again, there are people on both sides. Laws are in place to protect people. However, not everyone will agree with the laws that are supposed to protect them. Seniors that cling to the ability to drive for their very survival will certainly consider any such law a form of discrimination.

The solution may actually lie somewhere in the middle. It may be possible to ask that any senior driver that has been involved in an accident to retake the driving test. Obviously, this possible solution also has flaws, as who is to say that the individual will survive a serious accident. This could also come to late to save the life of others that may be involved in the accident as well.
It is unclear as to whether or not the government will get involved in this debate. It may be that this decision will need to be made on a state or even local level. In a perfect world, seniors that realize that their driving skills are not up to par would relinquish their drivers license voluntarily. However, many do not realize that this is the case until it is too late. Clearly, there is no easy solution to this complex problem.


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