Old drivers assignment

  Old Drivers

            The brakes of the two-ton 1983 white Cadillac El Dorado screech to a halt.  But for the 15-year old Jen Smith, it is too late.  The county coroner picks up her severed head ten minutes later, never to see her mother or baby brother ever again.  The driver of the Cadillac is 96-year-old Tom Dasson, legally blind, but still a licensed driver. In 1995 senior citizens accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities, 13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities, and 18% of all pedestrian fatalities.  It’s time the government and law enforcement recognize this staggering accident rate caused by the impairments of old age.

            Americans are living longer healthier lives.  In that you could not contest the fact that senior drivers is on the rise.  Not high school seniors but senior citizens 65 years of age and older.  So what’s the problem with increased seniors on the road?  What can we do to yield better safety amongst our elders?  And what would the outcome be if we took measures to prevent unsafe seniors from driving.  I thought about these issues and thought about what seniors would do if their driving privileges got cut down or taken away.  As a result of my research, it looks as if it would be better to separate the good drivers from the bad drivers.

            NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) statistics show that seniors have one of the highest accident rates.  Drivers over 55 have more accidents per mile than any other age group.  They suffer more frequently from impaired hearing and or vision than the general population.  And as we age, our nighttime vision capacity fades.  The more people we have on the road without all five senses the more people we have that cause pile-ups, collisions, and serious accidents caused by the negligence of seniors.

            If we want our roads to be safer certain measures should be taken.  Mandatory retesting for a driver’s license after the age of at least 70 should be given.  Then at the age of 75, and annually after 80. Another solution that parallels with this retesting is a driving course/program founded by the AARP(American Association for Retired Persons).This program is called “55 Alive” and it does an excellent job of giving driving pointers and informing the seniors of common accident situations to be aware of.  For example, the most frequent accident scenario for older drivers involves a left turn across traffic.  This program also attracts the seniors because it offers a discount on their insurance.

            These actions would substantially cull out the good driver from the bad drivers but would not solve the whole issue.  I think the law enforcement should be involved too.  They should pull over any elderly driver that is driving to slow, swerving, or making any violation.  If over 65 the driver should then be given a sobriety test.  Stand on one foot, walk straight line and so on.  If they cannot pass this they should be charged with a D.U.I. Overage. 

In conclusion, M.A.D.D. has impounded our media and life with a campaign against drunk driving.  Laws have become stricter and M.A.D.D. has showed if we want laws to change we must speak in majority.  So I encourage you to join the P.I.S.S.E.D. (Persons Injured by Substandard Elderly Drivers) organization.  Call The American the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) at 800-424-3410 and let’s get these impaired driver off the roads.  I think it’s time that our elders took a back seat.  Because the more old folks we got behind the wheel, the more P.I.S.S.E.D. people will get.

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