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Elders and Driving: The Delicate Balance Between Safety and Independence

August 1, 2012

Every so often there is an article or news item that features an elder driver who has had an unfortunate accident. We hear reports of drivers who hit the wrong pedal or lost control of the car and then ended up in the front window of a store, on someone’s lawn, or hit another car. These stories often go on to report that the driver was elderly, and the reporter then infers that the accident occurred primarily due to the age of the driver.

While it is true that some individuals should not be driving and possibly could not pass a driving test, age alone is not sufficient as a reason to deny a person the right to drive.

As individuals age, their reaction time may not be quite as good as in earlier years, and their eyesight may also diminish. While these issues may not be reason enough to deny a person the right to drive, these two matters, coupled with reduced mobility, a bit of diminished mental capacity, and other physical or mental factors, may well create a situation within which an individual should not be driving.

In some states a person is required to take a driving test after they reach a certain age, and every few years thereafter, in order to verify their ability. This restriction has often been criticized as being discriminatory against an elder, but another interpretation is that driving is a right, and it must be established and renewed from time to time. …

You may read more at the link below.

by: Hyman G. Darling

Healthcare News
August 2012

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