What if you can’t drive?

To most Americans driving brings a sense of independence that is so important to them. The right to drive a car is considered almost a fundamental right. However, given the fact that the number of senior motorists is growing fast as baby boomers are reaching their retirement age, the question of driver fitness has sparked serious controversy in the US. The Santa Monica incident, where the then 86 year old George Russell Weller plowed through a market killing 10 and injuring 63, has added fuel to the issue. Should there be a law barring senior Americans from driving after a certain age or should there be periodic checks to make sure the senior is fit to drive. And what if you can’t drive? Would that mean you give up your independence completely or are there other alternatives that you can avail?

Driving safely:

Statistics say that though the ratio of accidents per driver is less in case of older drivers their number of accidents per mile of driving is higher. Also, the expenses for retesting of driving skills are high and they cannot predict chances of future accidents. So, the issue actually is not about the age of the driver but about driving safely. It’s more a question of physical and mental fitness.

As you age, your chances of developing physical, medical or neurological conditions increase and these can affect your ability to negotiate the wheel according to the needs of the road. If you are driving, it is absolutely important that you are:

  • Able to hear and see clearly
  • Able to take decisive actions quickly
  • Able to synthesize the different kinds of information while on the road quickly