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YOUR TURN: Restrictions for Elderly Drivers?

Should the state intervene when drivers reach a certain age?

We all know the stereotypes about elderly drivers, but are they true? AAA says no.

“Recent data tells us that drivers in their 70s get into about the same number of crashes per mile driven as do drivers in their 30s,” Jake Nelson AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research said.  “On average, drivers in their mid- to late-80s still have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s, and roughly half the crash rates of teenagers — the nation’s riskiest drivers.”

Nelson said a national AAA survey shows 80 percent of senior drivers “self-police” their driving by voluntarily avoiding one or more higher-risk driving situations like driving at night or during rush-hour times of day.

AAA has also found that age, on its own, is not what leads to a loss of driving skills. Instead, medical conditions that come with aging — which can affect drivers as early as in their 40s — are what commonly reduce driving ability.

But AAA notes that with 10,000 Americans a day turning 65, an increasing number of families are faced with the challenge of balancing safety and mobility for older loved ones.

Readers - what do you think? Should Massachusetts put restrictions on elderly drivers? If so, what kind? If not - why? 

chuck marino September 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM
no new age restrictions. The state already has guidelines in place. To target the elderly would be unfair age discrimination
Concerned Citizen September 08, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Thats right Chuck. I think if we look at the stats the drivers between 25 and 35 are a lot scarier than the stats for drivers 65 to 75. I am more fearful of some of the younger drivers that tailgate than any elderly driver. Drivers on our highways go 15 miles over the speed limit on a regular day. People take right on red when pedestrians cross. When I stop for pedestrians in a cross walk (its the law) people drive around me and make the pedestrian stop or they just miss them.This happened several time at the crossing at Roosevelt circle and the Fellsway just at Fulton Spring Road. The drivers are in a hurry to get on 93. And no one does a full stop - it always rolling. Its STOP not a "GO if no one is coming" sign , and not Go if you can beat the other car to the intersection. And Yield signs, do people realize that it means to stop if another car is coming but a lot act like Yield means Merge. The government changed the sign color a few years back from yellow to Red so people would get it. Testing one group is discrimination - we should all be subject to retest if we do it to the older set.
Charlene Harrison September 08, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I agree with Chuck & concerned citizen that it wouldn't be fair to put restrictions on someone just because of their age, that's discriminating. I'm 37yrs old & I've had my license since I was 17yrs old & the few times that I was involved in an accident was when my car was hit from behind & each time the age of the driver who hit me from behind was between 17-26 yrs old. I understand everyones concern & safety is the most important for all drivers young & old. Also health issues can cause drivers of all ages not able to drive like they use to. If the state is going to modify current license laws or add new guidelines then it should be for all drivers, not just senior citizens. Since we have to renew our license every 6yrs maybe the state can require a road test at that time, but at the same time don't charge us more than what we already pay to get our license renew. We all agree that there are people who shouldn't be on the road or issued a license period, but we all have rights & everyone is entitled to a license. What's sad is some elderly & other people might have to fend for themselves & if we take their license away what will they do. Basically there's a lot of different options the state can come up with rather than taking someones license because of their age. It wouldn't be fair especially to a senior citizen that has had a great driving record. :-)

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