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Just curious - what do you think

Posted by PeaBee4 (My Page) on
Tue, May 3, 05 at 20:34

You all know that about the reflexes, good judgement, cognitive function, etc. of the elderly. Let me run this by you for comment. Our state, has passed a law that allows people to renew the drivers license on-line or through the mail. They don't have to take an eye test and they can renew for TEN years.
Any thoughts on this?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Just curious - what do you think

I've long felt that after age 60, we should be required to periodically be road-tested as a condition of license renewal. This is as much for our protection as it is for others on the road. Facts are that our vision, hearing, and reflexes dim and slow down as we get older.

Our state also allows on-line license renewals, provided that there are no changes (such as name) needed. I also think that there are other conditions, such as moving violations, that might preclude you from being able to renew online. Our renewal time is 5 years.

I question the validity of an eye exam. Every time I have renewed my license, and taken an eye exam, the DMV employee is scarcely paying attention to what I'm reading off.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

You can do it by mail here in Maryland too, but you must have an eye exam done by an "vision specialist", and they must fill out a form that has to be sent in with the application in order to do it by mail. So, it costs more money to do it by mail than in person, I doubt too many people will do it.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

Being the grand old age of 55, lol....I know I'm not the same driver I was at 25 (thankfully). I'm cautious almost to a fault, but do speed a wee bit when the coast is clear. I'm not as confident as I once was about some things like parking (used to just whiz in and out...not so much now).

I'd hate to think that in another 5 years I'd have to re-qualify, and it might cost me my licence...I value my independence so much. Perhaps as long as there have been no accidents, on-line renewals would be fine up to a certain age. Unfortunately, the older I get, the farther I want to push that "certain" age! Maybe 70? 75? Although I know some excellent drivers at that age, I've also encountered lousy white-haired drivers (myself excepted, of course) that weren't that old.

'Tis a problem. But at some much as I hate to see it happen to me, testing should be mandatory.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

There is a neighborhood in our town that I can tell all of you to stay clear of! There are three major retirement facilities, and I see the same people in the hallway of Mother's home as I see behind the wheel a few blocks away. I shudder.

I don't think the eye exam is anything to worry about, IMHO. The important problems are cognitive and reaction times. And those things fail faster than eyesight. And can only be assessed by a real-time driving test.

A lot of states have long renewal times for their driver's license requirements. My Dad, when he died at age 93, had a license that went for another 5 years. And he drove until two days before he died. And it was scary. When he turned right, he'd come to a complete stop in the street before he turned. He finally allowed me to drive when I visited, but I worried every second I wasn't there.

I'd prefer to see a sliding scale for renewals by age. And that the older you are, the more often you have to renew your license.

Ideally, I'd say that by age 75 or 80, you'd be getting a full test every year with a driving test, and you'd be paying maybe $200 for your driver's license, too. By age 90, a drivers license should cost you $500 a year. And as far as I am concerned, you can increase that fee for every few years of age. Or at least require people to complete one of those AARP drivers' classes in order to get a break on the license fee.

I am not sure that the auto insurance people are on the same page either. I'd greatly prefer to see older people have a greatly increasing insurance payment. Sometimes that is the only thing that makes an older driver finally give up his car, the price of insurance. Again, the insurance company can require a defensive driving class in order to qualify for lower rates.

And as far as I care, these things can be yearly. The vast majority of problem older drivers are retired and time is not an issue. And cost should not be an issue, because at the high cost of gas and insurance, if you cannot afford those things, then you should not be driving.

Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves. having watched so many of Mother's neighbors pull out of their parking spaces and drive away in lethal weapons.

OK, I'm all better now. I'll be okay. Just let me catch my breath!

RE: Just curious - what do you think

I agree that the 10 year renewal without being seen by some sort of agency is the bothersome thing to me. It's too bad that most of them need their cars to get to the stores, doctors, etc. There's no good answer. It's bad enough with all the idiots driving with a cell phone stuck to their ear.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

Hmmm....I agree with in-person testing and renewal more often than at ,perhaps, age 70. I am sure there is research that identifies the usual age at which decline becomes significant;I am just not aware of the findings. I do NOT think, however, that the cost should rise. I think that would penalize based on economy, rather than ability. There are so many things that affect older persons of low income, and they tend to be isolating factors. If a senior is a safe driver, I think he/she should have the license.Maybe for free! Derry

RE: Just curious - what do you think

I agree that some seniors should not be on the streets driving. Then there are other seniors who are excellent drivers up until their deaths. My Dad drove until his death at age 85. He was well aware of and mentioned quite frequently that if he were ever in an accident, he would be blamed because of his age.

I wonder if there are any statistics showing how many accidents are caused by or involve seniors.

I am more concerned about the other drivers out there who seem to have a total disregard for any traffic law on the books.

Maybe the rising gas prices will eventually be a blessing in disguise!

RE: Just curious - what do you think

Well, i guess i'm one of the younger of us gals and guys here (49), i got my license when i was 16. sometimes i wish we all would get tested. here when you go for re-newal - you get it for X number of years, one time mine was for 9 years and last year when it came up - 5 years - and $50.00. you have to check off these boxes yes or no, do you wear glasses, do you have heart problems or a diabetic, and i can't remember the other questions, sign the form, get your picture taken. but al's uncle came over 3 weeks ago and his wife said he has to go for an eye test and a drivers test, he turned 75, she said to me i hope it's not renewed. i'm probably the slowest driver in town, i obay all the lights (this city is known for running reds! and you can drive from one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes, so i don't know what the hurry is - lol). we live by a seniors center and i swear one of these days someone is going to get into a big accident, jokingly i say to al, boy they must have had alot of fun there today, look how they ran the stop sign. i was also reading somewhere (maybe woman's day, or family circle) that if you had a 70 year old and a 25 year old talking on a cell phone that their reflexes would be the same. but i will admit if i didn't have to drive i wouldn't, then again when i do drive i take all the back ways to get where i'm going also i plan my route so i don't have to make many left had turns. ps matthew got me a new bike from work, but no helmut (law in the city, plus no riding on sidewalks). debbie

RE: Just curious - what do you think

This is from a New York state website:

"Concerns About Older Drivers

Concern, particularly among "younger" drivers, about the number of "older" drivers on the roads and their driving abilities is already growing. Statistics, when calculated based on all people injured or killed in traffic crashes, may indicate that older drivers are at a disproportionate risk for becoming involved in fatal crashes. For example nationally, in 1995 senior citizens accounted for:

* 5% of all people injured in traffic crashes;
* 13% of all traffic fatalities;
* 13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities; and
* 18% of all pedestrian fatalities.

Statistics show that in two-vehicle fatal crashes involving an older and a younger driver, it is 3.1 times as likely that the vehicle driven by the older person will be struck. In 27% of these two-vehicle fatal crashes the older driver was turning left."

Try a Google on: senior citizen driving accident

Scary stuff. Note that the Senior's car is more likely to get hit, which to me indicates a lack of defensive driving skills, slow driving, or like my father, someone who slows inordinately when turning.

I forgot the link

Here's a link to the NY website about older drivers. There are some excellent points on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Older drivers

RE: Just curious - what do you think

In Illinois, seniors are tested EVERY YEAR, over the age of 75 (I believe it is 75). My FIL, who just passed away in early March, was 89 and still driving, although he limited himself to daytime driving and staying very close to home. At his last driving test, he flunked TWO TIMES...they said he didn't stop long enough at a stop sign. He managed to pass it on the third try. Honestly, it scared me to think he was driving and others his age are driving. Even healthy, their reflexes are much slower and their vision is impaired. We tried to talk to him about giving up his license, but he told us that if he couldn't drive, he might as well be dead.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

My mother in her 80s had been a fairly careful driver. She called us one morning, the car was making a funny sound, could my husband come over and check it out. It sounded OK when he started it the garage. Then the noise started as he tried to back it up. It would barely move. She had rammed into something hard enough to push the fender and the bumper up against the tire. She didn't remember a thing about it. We worried about what she had hit for weeks!! Needless to say we didn't get it fixed. How she managed to drive it home and put it in the garage is a mystery.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

Yes I feel that most people over 65 should do the following: Take the AARP driving course, get their eyes checked by a DR, and get a checkup by a Dr for medical problems before the license is issued. There are some medical reasons people should not drive.
I am speaking for the seniors in my age level and above 70+
I find myself being more causious while driving in our local town---Why--because we have a ton of seniors, rural people not use to city driving, Air Force base people etc and not all are what I call good drivers. I was raised in So Calif and am use to freeway driving etc. Many times in smaller towns there are some people who really don't need to drive, But--they have driven for many many years, cars, trucks, and farm equipment and it is very difficult for these people to "give"up control, also there is NO bus for them to get from their farm/home to the local city/food/medical.

RE: Just curious - what do you think

I'm appalled. I sure hope insurance companies make more demands of older drivers.

I know several elderly people with drivers' licenses who are safe drivers. They take "Defensive Driving" classes, pick the times of day they go out (most prefer to avoid night driving and "rush hour") and they follow the traffric laws. I also know more than a few who have no business operating a motor vehicle whatsoever (but you don't have to be elderly to fall into that category, either!).

I see nothing wrong withr requiring eye exams and a road test for seniors... probably wouldn't hurt younger people, too! (I held a commercial license for several years... when you get paid to drive a commercial vehicle you tend to view driving "priviledges" differently).

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