Monday, 6 April 2015

Senior drivers – let me know when I should not drive

 Do we become better drivers, the older we get?

Apparently, the statistics show us nothing, and we shouldn't regard them as facts, but elder driver abuse!
My MPP has a strange bandwagon.
He's blocked me so I can't even show him facts!
This is ridiculous. The facts show that the older we get, the riskier we become, again. 
Our eye sight fails, we can't look over our shoulders as well to check blind spots, we slow down.
Current stats, in the Ontario move to more severely curtail teen drivers, reveals statistics that demonstrate seniors are more risky than newbie teen drivers:

  • 6.4 % of fatal accidents caused by those less than 20 years of age 
  • 7.3 % caused by those over age 65 (with fewer km traveled). 
  • 16 - 19 yr. olds have accident rates of 2.47 per 10,000,
  • Adults 66+: 2.9 per 10,000 .
There are a great many drivers on the road who should not be. This includes those with suspended licences, drunk drivers, or no insurance, and there is nothing we can do. Somehow, the rest of us must be protected from those who are a danger to us. Driving tests, specifically road tests for those over 80, is not too much to ask. If you have an accident, and you are 80, it might be a sign. Too many adult children are afraid of intervening.

We know what aging does to a body, reaction times are slower, vision and hearing impairments occur, undiagnosed dementia is likely, and physical infirmities reduce mobility.

There are many quick, 10-minute, cognitive tests physicians may administer in their offices
The clock test is a test for dementia, which is the ability to process cognitive functioning. If you cannot use abstract thinking, you are unable to make decisions about your driving ability, or make decisions in the moment. There is no excuse for this lack of testing by either Transportation Departments, physicians or family members.

But this isn't enough. It's up to adult children to monitor senior drivers. It's shameful that people are not reporting their adult parents who clearly have dementia. Potential victims, me, my grandchildren, will thank you. Someone has to bite the bullet, since doctors are unwilling to do so. It is said that only 3% of doctors report poor drivers.

Federal Highway Administration data

SLower drivers piss off everyone.
  • drivers 75 years and older have higher rates of fatal motor vehicle crashes than any other age group except teenagers.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • drivers 85 and older have nearly twice the number of fatal accidents as those 16 to 19.
Collisions and traffic violations in the elderly population reflect:
  • errors of inattention
  • failure to yield
  • difficulty maneuvering
  • driving too slowly
  • Dangerous decisions are made every day on the highway
  • left-hand turns are dangerous. 
Warning signs of unsafe driving include:
  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places
  • Failing to observe traffic signals
  • Making slow or poor decisions
  • Problems with changing lanes or making turns
  • Hitting the curb while driving
  • Driving at an inappropriate speed (too slow or fast)
  • Becoming angry and confused while driving
  • Confusing the brake and gas pedal
It is not about our dignity, our inadequacy, or ageism.
We do not target senior drivers. 
We target those who are statistically proven to be a risk.

How old is too old to drive? 
This is the wrong question. How frail is too frail to drive?

Who should report dangerous senior drivers?

We've seen our fair share of drivers, with dementia. Family members either do not know, or are afraid to comment. Seniors who are bad drivers populate rural towns. Everyone knows. No one does anything. It they aren't bad drivers, then a test won't hurt them. Otherwise, they should be retested, and/or  take the senior driver's course. I have photos. 

A 54-year-old woman from Trenton, Ont., has died after she was struck just outside The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus as her father was trying to park the vehicle.


eileeninmd said...

It is sad when one has to give up driving.. I know a few people myself that should be stopped.. Great post, thanks for sharing.

Nancy J said...

I recently went to a " Senior's driving course", and along with many of the others who attended, we all felt the instructor was patronising, condescending, and didn't teach us what we really went for, to upskill on new rules, corner turning, give way at cross roads, T junctions, and more.I agree with all of your words above, Jennifer, and sometimes it takes an other family member to pull out that key.

Red said...

I don't like these stats but they are accurate. We like to keep our drivers license as it's so important to our mobility. I do think there should be more testing. There are many other drivers who should be off the road and you list them.
Yesterday a car was in front of me. I could see the stop sign but this driver went though and never looked to either side. Good post.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Having recently been over this ground with an ageing (78) and Parkinson's afflicted father, I know what dodgy ground this can be. He got a new car (I thought my 'inheriting' the Ren was a submission. But no. Typical bloke. Updated to a newer and younger model. We had words. Unlike my siblings, I honour my father enough not to fear his anger borne out of the frustration of losing independence.

The car sits in the drive pretty much the whole week. It goes with him to fetch the bread and milk. He can admire it from the window. ... It's an irony that at the time when mobility aid becomes the most important to us, is when our body betrays us in the use of such aid!

Great post Jenn and touching most of your readers I think... YAM xx

Gill - That British Woman said...

this is a great post and one that affects a lot of us. We live in a rural town and see on a daily basis people who should not be driving in huge "boat" of a car.

I realize it's independence and in a rural area where there are no buses, it's one of the few ways to get about. However they are a danger to themselves as well as others.

William Kendall said...

It's a troubling question that everyone needs to sort out sooner or later.

As for Hillier, the man's an ass. If he's too thin skinned to set his political differences with constituents aside and serve them, he has no business in politics.