The Rights of the Elderly

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The Rights of the Elderly

Unread postby Rhiannon » Thu Jul 17, 2003 11:56 pm

The incident that happened in Santa Monica, California yesterday [link] has lead to the question again, of whether elderly drivers should be allowed to continue to drive. (This topic can discuss other 'elderly' rights as citizens as well).

Unfortunately, there is some truthful things about aging. One of them is that the body deteriorates. In men, the brain cells of the frontal lobe die. Women become more prone to fainting spells. Eyesight weakens, reflexes slow down, and of course, there are a variety of illnesses that can strike in old age that can be added to these.

On the other hand, seniors already have limited independence, and resent having any part of it taken away. Driving becomes a big part of that independence, because without it, you have to rely on others to take you somewhere else, which to seniors, can feel like a stealing of rights.

1998 US elderly driver statistics
:arrow: 7,269 people (65 years and older) died in motor vehicle crashes in 1998 (compared to 7,236 in 1997, 36% more than in 1975). 81% of elderly fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants; 16% were pedestrians.
:arrow: About half of the fatal crashes involving drivers 80 years and older occur at intersections and involve multiple vehicles, compared with 23% among drivers up to age 50.
:arrow: Per mile driven, drivers 75 years and older have higher fatal crash rates than drivers in other age group except teens.
:arrow: Per licensed driver, fatal crash rates rise sharply at age 70 and older.
:arrow: Those 80 years and older have the highest pedestrian death rates per 100,000 people.
:arrow: People 65 years and older represented about 13% of the population and about 18% of all motor vehicle deaths in 1998. By 2030, the elderly are expected to represent 20% of the population.


(from Ohio Insurance Factbook)

So what should be done about the elderly and their 'right to drive'?
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Unread postby Lord Lionheart » Fri Jul 18, 2003 4:24 pm

It's true that elderly people should still retain their independence, but even if taking their right to drive steal part of that away, don't you think they would rather live. Independence is useless without life. In my opinion, elderly people should not be able to drive, but other people should drive them. The people that drive them should always be readily available, so that our elders don't have anything to complain about. Sure, they have their pride and self-dependency, but everyone will reach a point where they have to depend on others.

Edit: Also, if they are also taking away other peoples lives, it's not fair to anyone.
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Unread postby Justin » Fri Jul 18, 2003 4:35 pm

I have two elderly grandmothers who souldn't be driving. One is starting to suffer from alzheimers and the one is just too old and doesn't have the reflexes you need to drive. Once your right to something endangers a persons life it no longer becomes a right. Besides driving is a privelage not a right. Once you hit a certain age you should no longer have that privelage. I also think kinds shouldn't get their DL until they're 18 not 16. But that's another topic ;)
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Fri Jul 18, 2003 5:52 pm

Personally, I believe that when people reach a certain age(Not sure what age exactly.), they should have to take driver's test over. I have seen so many elderly people on the road, who look like they don't even know where they are. :roll:
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:41 pm

TheGreatNads wrote:Personally, I believe that when people reach a certain age(Not sure what age exactly.), they should have to take driver's test over. I have seen so many elderly people on the road, who look like they don't even know where they are. :roll:


Interestingly enough, only two states require people over the age of 75 to take a driver's test behind the wheel. Two eastern states, I believe Indiana and Maryland, but I'm probably wrong on that, and lazy to go look it up on ABCnew's slow server.
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Unread postby English_Druid » Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:29 pm

I agree with Nads, It would be unfair to simply ban anyone over acertain age from driving, Im sure there are some very capable elderly drivers. But the majority of them are not, so the simple solution is just to make anyone over a certain age e.g 70 to retake their test, and maybe have them do it again every 5 years or so. It would be a pain for them but its better than risking theirs and other peoples lives.
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Unread postby Zhao Yun of Changshan » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:49 pm

I recall hearing from somewhere that, if I remember correctly, over 50% of accidents and car crashes involving the elderly were actually caused by another driver under the age of 30. I'm just wondering if this is true. IMO the elderly should have the right to drive but like what ppl have already said make em take another test just in case.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Wed Jul 23, 2003 4:45 pm

The existence of driving tests already implies that the right to drive should only be given to the competent. Hence, it'll only be fair that such a rule is being applied continuously and consistently.
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Unread postby Cao Zhi » Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:20 pm

I cannot speak for other lands, but I believe that in the US, driving tests* should be mandatory for all citizens every 10 years once the licence is first granted, and every 5 years once a citizen is past the age of 60. This avoids discrimination, as all citizens are affected, and there is scientific evidence to back up the justification of requiring the elderly to test more often due to the biological decay of their minds and bodies.

Sadly, this would never come to pass. The elderly make up the largest voting bloc in America, and they would surely vote down any measure which places potential limitations upon them.

*Of course, it is common knowledge that American driving tests are a joke. The driving tests need to be made more challenging and require more training, such as the German driving tests. Either that, or the penalties for poor driving (speeding, DWI, reckless driving, etc) should be harshly penalized, as they are in Sweden.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Wed Jul 23, 2003 6:13 pm

Cao Zhi wrote:I cannot speak for other lands, but I believe that in the US, driving tests* should be mandatory for all citizens every 10 years once the licence is first granted, and every 5 years once a citizen is past the age of 60. This avoids discrimination, as all citizens are affected, and there is scientific evidence to back up the justification of requiring the elderly to test more often due to the biological decay of their minds and bodies.


Yes, I agree with this entirely. The assumption that the DMV makes is that years on the road equates to expertise. Sadly, I think we can all testify this is not the case. I've only been driving two years, and I am a better driver than a good many people who have ten times my driving experience.

The other problems (besides the ones you mentioned) about required driving tests, is that it costs the government more money to do so (though I think it would also result in more revenues, from fees paid). Driving tests also tend to be weak here (I'm not familiar with German driving tests), and it is easy to drive excellently during your exam and then leave DMV and drive like a madman again. On an exam, you naturally try to be on your best behavior. Why would you drive illegally when you're on the line to get your right to drive legally?
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