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john65pennington's avatar

How old is too old for a person to still be driving a vehicle?

Asked by john65pennington (29187points) September 18th, 2010

Many elderly drivers are the cause and involved in auto accidents. How old is too old to still be driving a vehicle? Question: Should all drivers be required to take the driving test all over again at the age of 70? Or, would this be a violation of their rights, but detrimental to other drivers safety?

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21 Answers

Linda_Owl's avatar

Teenagers & early 20’s individuals are far more likely to cause traffic accidents – check the statistics, my friend.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It would absolutely not be a violation of their rights. Things deteriorate as people age – it’s the way of things. It’s stupid not to make elderly drivers take another driving test.

john65pennington's avatar

I asked this question because of an article i just read on Yahoo News.

Axemusica's avatar

When they can’t walk up to the DMV counter.

Yea, no shit, I’ve witnessed this. In AZ (my license expired ‘til 2047, which would be my 50’s, I’m currently 27, it was issued years ago. {Random fact}) I was at the DMV for, well, DMV stuff and while waiting on them nifty seats, waiting for my number to be called. I watched people go up and listened to music. “counter 26 is now waiting on # 247” would come over the intercom and I observed an old guy (cain white hair ect…) barely make it to the counter to renew his license. I was shocked! lol

If you can’t reach the DMV counter un-assisted, you should not be able to drive.

YARNLADY's avatar

The age is entirely dependent on the ability of the driver. Some drivers are not competent at any age. I suspect that most states would accept a phone call relating driving issues.

Trillian's avatar

Elderly people seem to be causing a lot more accidents in the past few years. Does anyone remember that eighty some year old man that plowed into a crowd of people? I think that he managed to kill a few.
I remember a few years ago in VA Beach four older ladies all died because the one driving drove straight out the fourth floor of a parking garage. No one knows if she had an M I, or what exactly happened. My friend who was 87 at the time drove her car into the side of her garage. There does seem to come a time when the reflexes just aren’t able to cope anymore, and they become a danger. I don’t know if there is a uniform age, but mandatory annual road tests may not be a bad idea.
An of course, @YARNLADY is correct. Some are simply not competent at any time. This, unfortunately, does not mitigate the fact that reflexes and vision do diminish. Many elderly people that I know have given up driving after one close call too many or an actual accident which they felt should not have happened.

woodcutter's avatar

it isn’t the blue hairs that kill you when they have a senior moment, it’s that damn Buick Electra smashing your Prius all up against you.

JilltheTooth's avatar

The “right” to drive is dependent on the ability to acquire a license to do so, based on a number factors, including the ability to pass at least one (vision) physical acuity test. I think such tests should be required at least every couple of years, after a certain age (70, maybe?). I know some 85 year olds that are still excellent drivers, and some 60 year olds that are, for various physical reasons, dangerous on the roads.

ucme's avatar

If you have to stop for a pee as often as you change gear, then i’m thinking it’s probably time to pack it in!

keobooks's avatar

I don’t think there would be anything wrong with making people re-take the driving test every few years—just like you have to re-take the eye test every time you renew. I think it’s silly that you can basically drive forever untested.

But as for a certain age to make people take the test—I dunno. There is a wide variety of abilities of the elderly. My maternal grandmother is almost 90 and an excellent driver. She’s got good reflexes, eyesight and always obeys the traffic laws. She doesn’t drive at night, but I think that’s a personal preference for her. I don’t see any reason she should have to lose her license just because of her age.

My other grandmother has always been a terrible driver from the day she got her license. She’s always been one of those people afraid to make left turns and never paid attention to the road, drives to slow and has had many accidents. I was SO happy when she flunked the eye test and they revoked her license.

Harold's avatar

@Linda_Owl – The statistics do reflect what you say, but I believe that the reasons are;
1. Young drivers are on the road more
2. Young drivers geberally cannot afford new or well maintained vehicles.

I believe that elderly drivers CAUSE more accidents than they are involved in. (By the way, I am 46, not a teenager). I think that it varies widely depending on the individual, but compulsory health checks should happen from 70 yrs onwards.

john65pennington's avatar

Harold, do you think the percentage of elderly-involved accidents has increased is because of physical reasons or because of the mass numbers turning elderly all at once, thus increasing the stats?

Nullo's avatar

I think that threat-detection and reaction-speed tests ought to figure in here someplace. If his nervous system is still up to the task, I see no reason why a person should be made to quit driving.

Harold's avatar

@john65pennington – I think it is probably a combination of the reasons you give. It is PC to pick on young drivers, but not to question the ability of the elderly.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Harold Insurance companies use statistics to determine their rates, and they compile the exact figures about who causes accidents. There is no age discrimination there, but merely facts. There are definitely restrictions at both ends of the age spectrum.

Male drivers between the ages of 16 and 23 have a driver fatality rate that’s four times higher than the average national rate.
16-year-old drivers have the highest driver fatality rate in the country.
Right behind this age group on the accident scale, are drivers 75 and older.

Jabe73's avatar

It comes down to each individual. My pap drove good well into his 80’s. When it comes to the point of needing to drive less than the speed limit to safely make decisions than your reflexes are too slow at that point to be a safe driver. This condition can vary with age per person.

@YARNLADY You are right but there is one major difference here, younger drivers cause accidents because of inexperience and/or feeling fearless but they can eventually become better drivers. With many older people it is a case of actual slower reflexes and mental capacity to react so it is a different ballgame (older people are past their prime so they will only continue to drive worst, not better) regardless of stats.

Harold's avatar

@YARNLADY – yes I know that, but when I say cause accidents, I mean cause others to have accidents, but escape themselves, or are not blamed.

16 year olds can only have a learner’s permit here in Australia, so we don’t have that problem.

Ron_C's avatar

I’m 63 and just have just completed my physical, my eyes are 20/20 with glasses, my heart’s good so I won’t drop dead at the wheel, and my reflexes are good enough to avoid the deer trying to commit suicide by vehicle. I’ll stop driving when I can’t meet those conditions.

Harold's avatar

@Ron_C – Yes, and therefore you’d have nothing to fear of being tested, would you!

Ron_C's avatar

@Harold Hell no, I’d take the test! However I resent waiting in line or driving to the “big city” to do it. If they wish to schedule it for my convenience, no problem. I have practice, after all. I get retested every time I hit six points for speeding. It is weird, I’m the only one taking the test that is over 25 years old. I can pass the written section in less than 20 minutes.

Too bad they don’t let you take the driving test at high speed.

Harold's avatar

@Ron_C – fair call!! Good luck with that.

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