Elderly Drivers: Safe or Non-Safe

Topics: Ageing, Gerontology, Old age Pages: 6 (2219 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Proposed Solution for Elderly Drivers
Rhyen Eugenio
Professor Hayashi
How would it feel to lose your ability to drive due to a natural cause such as age? At some point in everyone’s life, they will become old. A lot of the things that people do at the younger ages become harder as they become older. A growing problem nowadays is being able drive during later years of people’s lives. From the article “Older, dangerous drivers a growing problem” written by Robert Davis and Anthony DeBarrows on the USA Today website explains a growing problem in the United States. Once all of the baby boomers have reached 65, they will account for 25% of the fatal car accidents that will take place in the United States. Statistics from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration website (RITA) shows that as of 2009, there were over two-hundred million licensed drivers in the United States. Of that number, thirty three million of those licensed drivers are 65 years of age and older. Because of the increase in elderly drivers every year, they have become a growing problem in the United States. There is a necessary solution to the problem that can accurately point out whether or not a driver of the older population should be on the road. Since in-license renewal is the best judgment for whether someone is capable of driving or not, a tougher licensing process should be put into place for seniors over the age of 65 that begin to show a deterioration of their driving skill through their driving records (these are held by a state’s DMV and the driver’s insurance company). Reasons why the licensing process should be tougher for elderly drivers is because aging affects a person’s ability to drive, elderly drivers are becoming traffic safety concerns, and services such as physical examinations and driver safety courses can be added to the licensing process for the benefit of the unstable elderly drivers. The first reason why elderly drivers should have a tougher licensing process is that along with the aging process, a person’s body and brain age as well. With physical and mental disabilities coming into play, driving does become harder as you age. From the article written by Davis and Debarrows, there is an interactive demo that explains the parts of the human body that are affected with age. The three major aspect of the human body that tend to “get old” along with the aging process are a person’s mind, vision, and physical movement. Beginning with the mind, People tend to have some cognitive decline along with memory loss as you age. In relation to driving, a human’s reaction time will begin to slow down. With memory loss, it will sometimes affect an individual’s driving in ways such as forgetting the meaning for traffic signals, forgetting where their destination is, forgetting how to operate some functions in the car and etc. Along with the deterioration of cognitive and memory, Mind altering diseases may also keep some from being able to drive. For example Alzheimer’s disease is a memory loss disorder that some elderly people may get. This disease can affect a driver by giving them slower reaction times, problems when having to judging distances, and a greater risk of being confused when behind the wheel. Secondly, vision gets worse as people age. There are many vision problems that people may encounter with the aging process. The three major vision problems that many people face are Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration. Cataracts cause blurred or hazy vision. It also will make one’s eyes more sensitive to light and glare. Glaucoma reduces one’s peripheral vision which in turn will make it more difficult to see things like pedestrians on the side of the road, up-coming street signs and etc. Macular Degeneration causes the loss of the central portion of your vision. This will affect being able to see things that are in from of someone. Finally, your physical movement becomes more difficult with age. Joints...

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