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Posts Tagged ‘Old Age’

Driving and old age is not a new issue.  The elderly man who killed ten people when his car slammed into a crowded flea market created a storm of discussions about age and driving restrictions.  He was sentenced to probation!

However, two separate motorcycle accidents this week in different countries re-raised the question for me.  How old is too old to drive?

In Sturgis this week, Lloyd Tilley (73) driving his Toyota Tacoma made a left-hand turn in front of Ronald & Patricia Snide on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  He did not see them and unfortunately both died.  And today in Turin, Italy the AutoNews is reporting that the Pininfarina CEO (Andrea Pininfarina) was killed while riding his Vespa scooter to the R&D center in Cambiano by Giuliano Salmi, 78,  who did not see him!

In a 1997 NHTSA study, older people made up 9 percent of the population, but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.  Of the traffic fatalities of older drivers 82 percent were in the daytime, 71 percent occurred on weekdays and 75 percent involved a second vehicle.  Moreover, 28 percent of crash-involved older drivers were turning left when they were struck.

If these stats don’t cause you to take pause, then think about this. In the next 20 years the number of elderly drivers (persons 70 and over) is predicted to triple in the U.S.  Nothing can be done about people getting older.  But, what can be done other than voluntary, self-service inspection when a situation is causing issues?  Mandatory tests?  Should more states adopt deficit reporting laws like in Pennsylvania?

Driving is a privilege that also carries responsibility, and a major part of that responsibility is the ABILITY to drive a vehicle in a manner that does NOT endanger others.  A persons chronological age is not an absolute predictor of driving ability, but it’s impact can’t be denied!

Photo courtesy of Road and Travel.

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