Invoke Mandatory In-Car Testing for Senior Citizens
Original post made by Mike on Nov 25, 2006
This isn't to say that young people don't also make these errors in judgment (I'm for keeping everyone under 21 off the road, for different reasons), but the unnecessary deaths caused by elder individuals who are physically and/or mentally incapable of controlling a few-ton vehicle, or reading road signs, or hearing sirens, etc.
These exams could be staged, with 65-year-olds subject to tri-annual exams, through age 74, bi-annual exams from 74-83, and yearly exams thereafter.
Another thing we need to start working toward is cheap, accessible mass transit that will permit anyone, at almost anytime, to *easily* get where they want to go without having to get into their cars.
Palo Alto needs to be thinking about this, now, as we're evolving to a senior-dominated population.
on Nov 25, 2006 at 1:55 pm
I tend to agree with something along these lines. I was involved in a family argument over this very issue fairly recently. The family was trying to make the elderly father stop driving. As they had already agreed that his early alzheimer's wife stop driving a couple of years previously, he felt that he needed to continue driving to live his life. His family felt that he was a danger on the roads and he should give up. While both points of view were valid, this elderly gentleman continued to drive, be it all very close to home on very familiar roads just to run errands in the middle of the day, it would have been much easier for the family to tell him it was against the law for him not to drive until such time as he had been tested, rather than for them to appear to distrust him which was how he felt.
Families are often in this situation. They do not want to hurt the feelings of their parents, but they realise that perhaps it is time to stop driving long before the elderly parent wants to give up completely. It is always hard when the tables are turned and the children have to start parenting roles on their own parents.
on Nov 25, 2006 at 10:57 pm
I agree that Palo Alto needs to start thinking about transit options for seniors. The boomers will start to swell the senior population within the next decade. We need to become a town with many more buses or vans running around town -- dare we hope that they would be electric or at least hybrid? -- and at frequent intervals. I can't imagine losing driving privileges, but it will sting less if there's a reasonable and easy to use alternative.
I don't know where the money for the Palo Alto Shuttle comes from, but the city needs to beef up that budget tenfold.
on Nov 27, 2006 at 7:33 am
I tend to agree with the post. Although I am about 30 years younger than the elderly driver mentioned, I am aware that my driving reflexes and instincts have significantly slowed down. As someone who rides his bicycle on a daily basis, I have first hand experience of elderly drivers who tend to be unaware of what is going on on the road and their surroundings and whose reflexes are often almost completely gone. Conversely, It makes no sense to outlaw the sale of alcholic beverages to young people under 21 while allowing them to drive vehicles that can and do kill hundreds of thousands of people annually. Many young people are too immature and irresponsible to drie a car and with them, just like with elderly drivers it should be a case by case permit. Driving is a priviledge, not a constitutional right.