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Senior Citizens Driving Essay

2213 words - 9 pages

Times are changing and the world is evolving. New technology and medications are constantly emerging and because of this it is no wonder that today people live an average of six years longer than they did in 1990 (Life Expectancy). With the life expectancy continually increasing, there are more and more elderly drivers on the roads. In fact, the total annual miles older drivers traveled climbed twenty nine percent from 1995 to 2001 (“Should elderly”) and that number is probably even greater now. This can cause a huge problem not only for the elderly drivers themselves, but for other people on the road too. As the body ages, reaction rate, hearing, and vision naturally decline which makes an aging driver much more susceptible to driving accidents and fatalities. Senior citizens should not be denied the right to drive, but they should be required to retake driving tests when they renew their license. This will confirm that they are mentally capable of operating a car and will assure more safety for all drivers on the road. In attempts to aid senior drivers even more, measures should also be put in place to make the roads easier for them to navigate.
It is no secret that as people age their bodies start to slow down. Even though these changes are natural and extremely common, it does not mean they should be ignored, especially when it comes to driving. Vision, reaction rate, and hearing are three major concerns for elderly drivers. In the United States alone more than fifty percent of people over age sixty five have some degree of cataract formation and that percentage increases greatly with age (Heiting). If not treated these cataracts can impair a driver’s vision to a point where driving becomes unsafe. According to a study by Kline and Schieber, drivers over sixty five also need three times as much light to see properly while driving (Myers 458). As a result, many of them have difficulties driving at night, in the rain, or on cloudy days. Without appropriate visual abilities, drivers can have trouble making turns, seeing other vehicles, and reading crucial road signs. Because of this, it is important to retest elderly drivers before giving them a renewed license. If it is found that a driver does not have good enough vision, they should not be granted their renewed license until corrective measures have been taken. This will reassure that they are not causing a threat to themselves or other driver on the roads.
Reaction time is also a major concern. As drivers age their ability to make quick, reasonable decisions lessens. This means that they may not be able to brake quickly or swerve to avoid an oncoming car. Slower reaction times make older drivers much more prone to certain types of accidents. In fact, when compared to younger drivers, senior citizens are three times more likely to be involved in certain types of collisions including merging, failure to yield, and most commonly intersection crashes (“Should elderly”). ...

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