Would YOU support driving restrictions for the elderly?

It happened again. An 80-year-old man mistook the gas pedal for the brake and plowed into four parked cars (link). I think it’s time that state DMV’s start doing a bit more rigorous and frequent testing for those over the age of, say, 70 to make sure they’re not too senile to drive. Also, what are the chances of this happening since the elderly make up much of the voting population? Thoughts?


Sigh. Above post made by me.


The over-80s are the most dangerous drivers on the road (insurance stats, not opinion), and for sure I’d advocate retests above a certain age, say 70. It would sure thin out the roads round here.

Some doddery old puffin nearly wiped me out the other day. I was cycling along a straight 2-lane road, clear visibility, no oncoming traffic, when a Volvo overtakes me within an inch of the end of my handlebar. Having overtaken me she then moves back in again, clipping the kerb. I think her whole visual world is shifted about 2 feet to the left.

Personally, I think all drivers should have to demonstrate competence behind the wheel every two years. Yes, it would be a pain. But it avoids issues of age discrimination, properly ignores assumptions of stereotypical behaviour, and potentially gets out of the system poor drivers who aren’t already at whatever cutoff age a state might choose.

Hell, make them parallel park. No one can do it anymore; it’s funny watching young people try. :eek:

speaking as a former young person, at least younger drivers have an excuse in their inexperience.

what scares the crap out of me is that my cousin, the worst driver i know, is now an interstate semi truck driver. i guarantee that he will cause a serious accident, i just hope he doesn’t kill anybody.

My father is 93 and is a terrible driver. He started showing signs of poor driving habits somewhere in his early 80’s. My mother (89) thinks he’s a fine driver.

I’m sure I should so the right thing and do whatever it takes to get him to stop driving, but I know I won’t. Such a confrontation would get very, very ugly and I would rather just keep my fingers crossed and wish the best to everyone else on the road.

I realize this is not a very noble position I have, and I’m not proud of it, but my guess is that it’s pretty standard for children of aging parents. This is why I feel the state should step in and require periodic testing for drivers over a certain age. If you set the age of testing too low, like 70, then you will get significant political resistance, so start with, say, 85 and see how it goes.

emphatically: YES!

the current literature appears to be in agreement.

If states can set 16 (or whatever) as the minimum age for driving, I don’t see why they can’t set 75 (or whatever) as the maximum. Problem is, 16 years-olds don’t need to do grocery shopping and 75 year-olds do.

Maybe 75+ should lose their license but get to ride public transportation for free (or get a deep discount on taxi fares in cities that don’t have much of a public transportation system).

Question: Are insurance rates as high for septuagenarians as they are for teens?

Absolutely… and I’ll go so far as to say this one is a no-brainer, and the only reason it remains unaddressed is because the elderly have tons of political clout.

There are still areas that don’t have public transportation, and little communities which don’t have stores and require going to another town (half an hour’s drive or more) to get groceries. Driving or having a driver is a necissity in those places.

I have a solution for this that doesn’t raise the spectre of ageism, and doesn’t require full mandatory retests in a set period.

You simply have a ‘lite’ test at the DMVs around the country - on a video-game style simulator. Every couple of renewals, all drivers have to do five or ten minutes on the machine - just testing their vision, reflexes, etc.

Plus, any 76 year old who legitimately still has the chops to drive, won’t lose a license. It would only weed out the serious hazards.

Adding: I am for restrictions, but think it should be based more on a case by case basis. I think testing each driver every so often is a good idea. I don’t see how it could realisticly be put into practice due to the administrative costs though.

simple solution: mandatory euthanasia for seniors who fight the license-testing process.

set up a complaint hotline as bait, and once you have their information, make a house call and Terri Schiavo them.

Any sort of maximum age cutoff will be unfair to many of the elderly. At 75 my father had absolutely no diminishment in his driving skills. Hell, at 75 he could still beat me in tennis. Even at 85 his driving was acceptable.

In most rural areas such as Marlin, Texas where my father lives, there is no public transportation. I don’t think there has ever been even a single taxi in Marlin, so your options to transportation aren’t going to always be available.

Even at 93 my father leads a fairly active life. A few months ago he fell off a ladder while feeding his pigeons and broke his leg, so that slowed him down some, but prior to that he would drive out to his “farm” just about every day to tend his 40 or so head of cattle. For him to be cooped up inside doing “old folks” stuff probably would have killed him years ago.

Any change to the driving laws must be very sensitive to the individual differences in driving abilities and to the dignity of the elderly. That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. I believe even my father would accept the occasional driving test for the elderly so long as everyone else his age was having to do it.

I believe last time this came up it was shown that while older drivers are perceived to be dangerous and accident prone, the stats just don’t back it up.

If the stats were there the insurance companies would have no problem bumping their rates. Problem is the stats aren’t there. Younger male drivers still have the most accidents and pay for it accordingly.
Apparently just because someone drives 10 mph under the limit, doesn’t signal for turns, and cuts others off it doesn’t translate into more accidents for them.

Since the last time this happened ( you say “again,” but I don’t know which incident you are referencing), have there been no similar accidents by people in their 20s-50s?

I absolutely support mandatory driving restrictions after a certain age. If we can regulate the minimum age for driving and a maximum blood alcohol concentration for driving, then we can regulate the maximum age for driving.

However, it will never, ever happen. The elderly vote in greater numbers than any other group. No politician will ever advocate this. This would be more of a hot potato than eliminating social security.

I could support testing more often, but the same test must be given to 20 and 40 year olds. There’s no excuse for holding 70 and 90 year olds to higher standards. If our tests are not capable of weeding out the 80 year old who isn’t fit to drive, the problem is in the test. Make a test that does.

Incidentally, I would also support allowing a 12 year old who passes the test to be fully licensed as well.

Some elderly driver statistics can be found here: link

a few highlights-young people mainly crash their own cars, old people crash into other cars and pedestrians.

So what’s the plan for when he finally loses driving dexterity but still needs to eat?