Comp & Rhetoric
As people become increasingly older, their reflexes and driving skills may become hindered. There has been much contraversy over whether or not elderly drivers should have to retake their road test every year, or whether or not they should be allowed to drive at all. Elderly drivers should not be descriminated against when it comes to restrictions on driving. They are often the least aggressive drivers, and depend on driving to carry out their daily lives.
According to CNN, a study conducted by the California DMV shows that although elderly drivers represent 12% of drivers, they are involved in 17% of fatal crashes. This, however, is no reason to curtail the legal rights of the elderly. A maximum driving age is out of the question, and forcing the elderly to retake their road test every year is discriminatory. A better solution would be to retest all drivers on a fairly regular basis, regardless of age. In reference to the afformentioned study by the DMV, there is still another 83% of accidents in which groups other than the elderly were involved in fatal accidents. In order to combat this, we need to use retesting or re-education on a broader scale, and not focus solely on older drivers.
For many retirees, driving is a crucial part of their lives. If their right to drive is taken away, many of them will find it very difficult to remain independent. In order to survive without being able to drive, they must either hire someone to take them to the store or to buy groceries for them, or rely on their family members to take them everywhere. This places a large burden on their family, and makes them more dependent on other people. Some proponents of retesting or a maximum driving age say that the elderly can use public transportation systems, when in fact, elderly drivers who live in suburban or rural areas would not have access to this. If they do not have relatives that can provide this assistance, whether they live far away, or simply do not have time to drive them places when they need to go, they would be forced to live in retirement homes. Because they most elderly live on a fixed retirement income, they may not be able to afford a retirement home. When this happens, they must either live with their relatives, which again places an even greater burden on them, or must look to the government for financial assistance. This would weigh down the economy by forcing taxpayers to provide assisted living to elderly people that would under normal circumstances be not only independent, but have more money to spend on goods to boost the economy.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that elderly drivers are less likely to drive aggressively or drive while intoxicated. Because these two factors cause a far greater number of accidents then are caused by the elderly, we should focus more on these problems instead of trying to single out an age group and restrict their driving rights.
Although elderly drivers are often labled as being less skilled as their senses become impared, they still cause a small percentage of overall accidents, and are also capable of making their own decisions with respect to whether or not they are capable of driving safely. An attepmt to retest all drivers over a certain age may keep some impaired drivers off the road, however it would descriminate a small percentage of drivers, and would not significantly lower the accident rate. If all drivers are tested every few years, however, this can decrease the number of bad drivers by much more. By supplying extended public transportation for those incapable of driving, either through the government or the private sector, we can allow the elderly to remain independent, as well as allow other people without licenses to get to where they need to go.
Morris, Jim. “Should Elderly Drivers be tested?” CNN 18 Nov. 2004
Reed, Michael. “Elderly Drivers, State at Crossroads Over Safety”
Daytona Beach News-Journal 19 Nov. 2004
“National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Publishes 1997
Statistics on Older Drivers” NHTSA 19 Nov. 2004
“Using Linked Data to Evaluate Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving
Elderly Drivers in Connecticut” NHTSA 19 Nov. 2004