Elderly Drivers Essay

1001 words - 4 pages

Elderly DriversHave you ever been driving, and someone just cut you off? Many of the times this happens, it is an elderly driver. How you handle the situation depends a great deal on your individual driving etiquette. Although many of us would like to blame the elderly person for being a horrible driver, much of the time it is simply problems that will affect even the best of us when we reach a certain age. Nevertheless, for their own safety, not to mention the safety of other drivers and pedestrians, elderly drivers should be required to take both a vision test and an actual driving test when they reach the golden age of 65.One reason this second driving test should take place is that statistics show that elderly drivers are more likely to get into an accident than any other driving group besides that of teenagers. These drivers usually tend to have the most collisions at intersections (SmartMotorist) and while attempting to make left hand turns. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers aged 65 and older have a higher crash rate per mile driven than all other driving groups, excluding drivers under the age of 25. The accidents that occur with these older drivers usually tend to be multi-vehicle crashes, which places a great risk for second and third party injuries, and coincidentally, fatalities (Vierck 59).Another reason for this driving test is that if involved in a car accident, elderly drivers are more likely to die of their crash-related injuries than any other age group. A recent study by the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers older than 65 are nearly twice as likely to die in a car crash than drivers aged 55-64. This same comparison to drivers aged 75 and older revealed that they are over two-and-a-half times as likely to die, and crashes involving drivers over 85 proved to be almost four times more fatal (http://www.drivers.com). Statistics show that senior citizens "accounted for:5% of all people injured in traffic crashes13% of all traffic fatalities13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities18 % of all pedestrian fatalities". (SmartMotorist)A final reason for this prolonged testing is that senior citizens have certain health and age-related problems that can greatly impact and impair their driving skill. The greatest age-related problem that affects the driving capabilities of the individual is their vision. The most dramatic of the vision changes is the eye's sensitivity to glare and then the timing of the eye to readjust to normal light after being exposed to glare. Other age-related problems include, "reduced vision, especially night vision, slower reflexes, reduced hearing, and less flexibility of the head and neck."(Vierck 59) These are not only dangerous qualities when added to the driving mix; they are also very common with people over the age of 65. According to Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "As we age, our reaction time and other cognitive skills can...

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