Editorials‎ > ‎

Elderly Drivers and How They Can Kill

An Elderly Driver Driving

Ever since the dawn of time, meaning 1934 when the drivers license was officially introduced it has been commonly believed to be teenagers and their all of their testosterone and poor decision making to cause all car accidents. When in reality it is their much, much older grandparents that are responsible for 14% of all traffic fatalities, and 17% of all pedestrian fatalities, that is 5,600 people killed each year at the hands of gram-gram and pop-pop.

Teenagers may be at fault sometimes for their poor decision making but at least they can make a decision quickly enough to save a life, when an older person would take 20% more time to make a decision than any other person, but this also accounts for why they drive 20% slower on all roads. For instance in a 50 MPH speed zone Gram-Gram might be driving around 30 MPH, sound familiar to yesterday's drive home? This is one precaution elderly drivers take in order to not make a mistake, they also won’t go out driving in bad weather, and even more dangerous at night. They also would avoid merging onto highways and making that periouless left hand turn.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1994 one out of every eight Americans was age 65 or older. It is anticipated that by the year 2050, that the age group of 65 and over will become an unsettling one out of every five Americans. Showing that we will have more sad incidents like these… In Florida last February 79 year old, Dooren Landstra, was leaving Sunday Church when she put her Chevy Tahoe into reverse and ran over seven, and killed three people, in New York another elderly driver killed three in a head on crash on I-190S, and finally at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, an 87 year old man plowed their car into a large group of people injuring 76, and luckily only taking the life of one.

Their is a need for retesting elderly drivers, only New Hampshire requires drivers over the age of 75 to take another driving exam, while other states leave it up to their children, grandchildren, and their physician to tell the state when they shouldn’t be eligible to drive. Some people are a little reluctant on when is the right time to take away Gram-Gram’s license and I can honestly understand that you are taking away a small part of their freedom. When it comes to the point that they cannot operate a motor vehicle you need to strip them of this freedom for both their protection and the motorists and pedestrians they endanger everytime they drive.

I completely understand that losing your license must be a dreadful thing to happen, but we cannot take away their licenses after the have a tragic event especially one that could be deadly. So is it worth it for you to allow your parent or grandparent continue to drive as they grow older and older? If you truly loved them you would stop them before they take someones life but most importantly their own life.