Too Old to Drive
With the aging of the baby boomers, a large segment of the American population is reaching senior citizen status. Modern technology, combined with the large numbers of the post WW II babies, has led us to expect that the number of Americans over the age of 65 will steadily increase in the next few years. These citizens will be functioning in communities all over America. Senior Americans will be driving to visit friends, shop, and dine out, and even running car pools. Our highways will have an increased number of senior drivers. It is a fact that as we age our mental and physical abilities decrease. Due to a depreciation of mental and physical abilities associated with aging, senior citizens should be forced to annually show competency in the safe operation a motor vehicle in order to retain their license.
One of the physical limitations of older citizens is a limited range of motion. In most situations, it is necessary to have a full range of motion to operate a motor vehicle safely. When driving, it is important to be able to turn the steering wheel accurately. Precise steering is necessary to navigate through traffic. It is a necessity for the driver to be able to turn his head when backing a motor vehicle. The Tennessee Driving Manual suggests that when backing a vehicle, the driver should turn and look over his right shoulder. Because senior citizens have decreased mobility, proving their competency in this area will ensure that they are physically able to operate a vehicle safely. If someone is unable to perform these aforementioned functions, then this person need not have a driver's license.
Driving is a skill that relies heavily on the sense of sight. If an individual's eyesight has diminished, he is a hazard to himself and every other driver on the road with him. An annual eye exam should definitely be a part of the driver license exam and a requirement for senior citizens to retain their driver's license.