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YOUR TURN: Restrictions for Elderly Drivers?

Should the state intervene when drivers reach a certain age?

We all know the stereotypes about elderly drivers, but are they true? AAA says no.

“Recent data tells us that drivers in their 70s get into about the same number of crashes per mile driven as do drivers in their 30s,” Jake Nelson AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research said.  “On average, drivers in their mid- to late-80s still have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s, and roughly half the crash rates of teenagers — the nation’s riskiest drivers.” 

Nelson said a national AAA survey shows 80 percent of senior drivers “self-police” their driving by voluntarily avoiding one or more higher-risk driving situations like driving at night or during rush-hour times of day.

AAA has also found that age, on its own, is not what leads to a loss of driving skills. Instead, medical conditions that come with aging — which can affect drivers as early as in their 40s — are what commonly reduce driving ability.

But AAA notes that with 10,000 Americans a day turning 65, an increasing number of families are faced with the challenge of balancing safety and mobility for older loved ones.

Readers - what do you think? Should Massachusetts put restrictions on elderly drivers? If so, what kind? If not - why? 

Matt C September 10, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I agree with the AAA most drivers in their 70s are great drivers. I don't think that it is unreasonable for the state to require vision and hearing tests at given intervals. The challenges come with conditions that disproportionately affect the elderly like dementia. in these cases we need to depend on the families and health care providers to help to make the decision that ensures the safety of all people on and off the road.
Courtney O'Keefe September 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Considering the restrictions placed on newly-licenses drivers (up to age 25), there should be expectations placed on all licensed drivers.
Trisha September 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Unless they can drive for seeing and brain function. it is very important for everyone. i mostly agree with MattC.

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