Letter to the Editor: Elderly Drivers

Dear Editor,

We have all been there, driving down Fifth Avenue in Youngstown when suddenly we come across a vehicle going 10 miles per hour below the speed limit and swerving across lanes of traffic. Once we have the opportunity to safely pass them, we notice it is an elderly male driver who can barely see over the steering wheel.

The elderly are at an increased risk of hearing, vision and other health issues that can negatively affect their driving ability. You frequently hear of elderly drivers losing control of their vehicles, going the wrong way down the highway or hitting pedestrians or buildings while in a parking lot.  Elderly drivers account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. Some of these fatalities can be prevented if elderly drivers are retested and, if needed, have their driver’s licenses revoked. Retesting elderly drivers protects not only other drivers and pedestrians, but the elderly themselves. Drivers over 65 are more likely to die in car accidents than due to health issues related to aging.

I propose elderly drivers, those 65 years and older, undergo a mandatory driving test; to include a vision and hearing check; at least once every four years. For those drivers that do not pass the driving test, they should be provided information on available transit resources such as the Western Reserve Transit Authority, Uber and additional transportation resources in their area.  In this way they can maintain and enjoy their independence safely.

Sincerely, Concerned Driver

One thought on “Letter to the Editor: Elderly Drivers

  1. I have to reply to Katie Cardon’s Letter to the Editor regarding elderly drivers. She states drivers over 65 should undergo testing! She might think that is old now, but when she is 60 she won’t think so! I also am a concerned driver and I have seen young drivers going slow in the left lane only to pass them and realize they are texting!! I think driving at 10 mph under the speed limit, especially on Fifth where so many students cross the road away from the intersections, is safer than driving 60mph on a freeway while texting! Driving slower doesn’t result in deaths as much as texting while driving has. According to statistics, “In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.” But I do agree with her that they should do testing on elderly drivers, I just disagree with her age category! According to statistics, “Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older. This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.” So maybe we could agree on testing 75 and older!

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