Post # 1
I’m sure we’ve all encountered an elderly driver who makes us question their ability to operate a vehicle at least a time or two. Driving into work today confirmed the fact that I think that drivers should be re-tested after a certain age. I had to slam on my breaks not once but THREE times because seniors were driving about 15 mph below the speed limit on a busy road during rush hour. It’s frustrating and can very well lead to serious accidents if they’re not sharp enough to be fully aware of what they’re doing.
So Darling Husband and I got to talking about it. We both feel that they should be retested but he also said that doing so would be ageism. I can kind of get that but the way I see it, we don’t allow kids under 16 (or 15 in some areas) to drive so wouldn’t it kind of be the same thing? As a society, we don’t feel that children are capable of fully understanding all that comes with having the ability to drive and sadly, many older men and women may be reverting back to that mindset. If these drivers can prove that they’re still sharp enough to operate a vehicle by passing a road test then by all means, keep driving! But if they can’t pass, that’s a pretty good indication that they shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
With that said, I don’t really know how this would work. Age is tricky since it affects everyone differently. They could very well pass their test one day and 6 months later, be progressively worse to the point where they shouldn’t be driving. Should they be retested every year? That seems like a bit much. Would it be up to the individual to fund these tests? Many seniors live on a fixed income to I imagine paying for this could be a challenge for some. At what age should they start to be retested? Technically a “senior” is 65 but imo, that’s still incredibly young. My Father-In-Law is 65 and he is no way incapable of operating a vehicle (hell, he drives an 18 wheeler like a champ). I guess if I had to put an age on it, I’d probably say 80+ but it’s still a grey area since everyone is so different.
What do you think? I’ll make a poll to try to cover all of these questions.
ETA: Are there any states that already require a retest? I vaguely remember a mention of Florida a while back but that could have just been a rumor.
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2014 - Ontario, Canada ♥ EDD- April 2016
In Ontario you have to renew your license every 5 years, but once you turn 80 it becomes a different process and you have to renew it every 2 years.
People who are 80+ must pass a vision test, written test, and participate in a group education session (where driving instructors talk with a group of seniors about changes to laws, new rules, etc).
If the group education counselor thinks it’s necessary (or if the elderly person crashes one day and they’re at fault) they must complete a road test (like the one someone would complete if they were trying to get their license for the first time) in order to keep their driver’s license.
ETA: I do think it’s a good idea, although it is tricky to decide where to draw the line age-wise. I think it keeps our roads a lot safer. They don’t have to pay extra to take the classes and things, but I think they have to pay the regular amount to renew their license (so the increase in cost would be that they have to pay it every 2 years instead of 5)
Post # 4
I’ve observed the same thing as you. Most times someone is driving dangerously slow, it’s a senior, and in my town speed limits are 45 on most roads even off the highway, so it gets to be dangerous. I’m in favor of equal treatment until it starts to compromise safety. It’s the same reason I cringe when I hear stories like a woman suing a fire department for sexism and becoming a firefighter after failing the physical test. If she can’t pull me out of a burning building, she can’t have the job, and if my grandpa can’t drive safely on public roads, he shouldn’t have his license. I would be in favor of retesting every 5 years starting at 70. It would be nice if seniors could get special rates but still pay out of pocket. If someone has a family history of dementia or other neurological problems, they should be able to start retesting at the special rate at a younger age.
Post # 5
@sugarpea: That sounds like a pretty good way of going about it. Thanks for the feedback.
Post # 6
I think they should be, but then there is the problem of WHO is going to help them get places, buy things, etc. Elderly people who are confined to home often lose their sharpness of minds MUCH faster than those who can be out and about. They might not be able to afford a nursing home. They might not have family nearby who can help. If they live in the country, there are no real means of public transport.
My grandfather is STILL driving, and he is 87, driving with one hand because he had a stroke. he has a knob on the steering wheel to use. He only goes a couple places, usually no more than 15 miles from home at the most, but honestly he should not be on the road, but my grandmother has not been driving for almost 10 years, so who would take them out?
It is much more serious manner to take away a freedom/priveledge from an elder than to tell a teen they are not old enough yet.
This is a hard issue. My other grandmother is a decent driver (a little slow), but like many old people her attitude toward driving is like that toward life: “I’ve been around long enough that I KNOW how to drive, don’t tell me that things have changed, or that I should do things differently, because I am your elder. I deserve some respect and that includes being able to inconvenience people on the roads”.
Post # 7
Yes they should. My mom was hit by a 73 year old driver becuase she thought the light was green (it was clearly red). my mom had to stay in the hospital for a week. She broke her ribs, and her tail bone. She had to walk with crutches for 4 months. She was also afraid of driving for the next 6 months.
Old people should retest, I would say at age 65. They should fund it themselves
Post # 8
I think everyone should be tested more often. I think having older people tested more often could set a bad precedence, but I do notice problems with their driving. So to me, the only solution is having everyone evaluated more frequently.
This also keeps younger people who may have aquired vision problems etc. off the road.
Post # 9
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I live in Florida so we have a large elderly population. I would like to see testing every 5 years starting at age 65 and then every 2 or 3 years once they are 80. I think most elderly drivers do not realize how dangerously they are driving until something bad happens.
My grandma was apparently falling asleep at the wheel due to her medications and either didn’t realize it or didn’t think she was sleeping for very long. One afternoon after church she fell asleep at the wheel and ended up a 1/4 mile deep in a field that had thankfully been cleared of trees recently. We were also thankful that she hadn’t hit any of her church friends on the road before veering off into the field. We pulled her license and made her sell her car. We felt a little bad about it but there was nobody else to do it; the Sheriff’s office didn’t have any authority to pull her license in that situation.
I feel uncomfortable with all of the payment options but they should be able to do a driving test at a subsidized rate by raising the price of new driver’s license tests.
Post # 10
I think everyone should have to retest every 5 years and pay for it themselves. Driving is a privelege and not a right
Post # 11
Yes I do and think it should start in their 70s. I few years ago my mom was driving through a green light and an 83 year old man ran a red light going 40 mph and t-boned her on the passengers side. The man didn’t even hit his brakes and caused a four vehicle accident. My mom’s car was totaled. Afterwards my mom found out that this man had his car under his son’s name because he had caused so many accidents and an insurance company wouldn’t carry him. 3 years later and my mom is still dealing with neck pain.
Post # 12
Yes they should be retested. Like PP mentioned we already have this in place in Ontario but IMO 80 is too late. Future Father-In-Law is 74 and his driving is already questionable. He’s not as quick in his reactions and he seems to get lost easier.
A few months ago there was a special on CBC (I think?) about seniors and the amount of accidents they cause. They had interviewed several senior drivers who caused accidents where people were killed. They all wished that someone had told them to get off the road and they themselves said that senior drivers should be tested earlier on instead of waiting for them to get into an accident.
Post # 13
A friend of mine was killed by an elderly driver. I think about him all the time.
Teenagers are under special restrictions, why not elderly drivers who account for the other highest demographic for fatal accidents?
Post # 14
I think a big problem with elderly drivers – a bigger problem even than their sharpness of mind – is their eyesight. Eyes go downhill at a certain age, unfortunately, and sometimes not even glasses will fix it (assuming they even have a current prescription).
I don’t know the best way to fix the issue, unfortunately. I do think they should be retested more often, but I also don’t want mentally and physically sharp elders to have to deal with that sort of ageist BS.
Post # 15
I would recommend in serious arguments that you don’t honestly compare the menatlity/judgement of grown people (seniors or not) to teenagers. That would be a bit offensive to me if I was 60+. Regardless I tested yes at 65 because of decreasing vision and mobility.
Post # 16
@mcklough: I actualy agree with you. The roads would be better if everyone was retested every x amount of years.