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Elderly Automobile Drivers

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Once again another fatal accident involving someone who was operating an automobile long after it has become a task beyond their capabilities:
News Article
How many times does this same scenario need to replay itself? This is a perfect example of why reliance on the automobile for all of our transportation needs is a disaster! Walkable, mixed use communities, well served by public transit are the answer!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Actually its also a very good reason for mandatory annual testing once you reach a certain age. I dont understand why our culture can expect you to be capable to drive at one age, yet not deem you incapable to drive at the other end of the spectrum.

I've been in a car with my grandmother, loved her to bits, but frankly it scared the hell out of me.

I'd gladly shuttle my parents around in a few years if it kept them from killing someone. (Actually I already do, since my parents moved to the burbs and my 57 year old mother has never had a drivers license and dad travels alot).
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Chet said:
Actually its also a very good reason for mandatory annual testing once you reach a certain age. I dont understand why our culture can expect you to be capable to drive at one age, yet not deem you incapable to drive at the other end of the spectrum.
AMEN. But what is the magic number? 65? 70? or even 75?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Huston said:
AMEN. But what is the magic number? 65? 70? or even 75?
I would bet some good statistical analysis of vehicle fatalities could derive that. Heck, I'm 34 and there are some days I'm amazed I makem it to work (BTW - I found out this morning my piece of crap truck can still do 100 mph)
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Huston said:
AMEN. But what is the magic number? 65? 70? or even 75?
I'd put it at the age that you are eligible for medicare.

But I think that this might not be as effective as hoped. States are already cutting back on driver’s license examinations and examiners. Then comes the tough position of actually pulling the drivers license. In Texas, law enforcement officers can submit medical advisories on drivers who may no longer be capable of operating a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, this usually comes about after an accident investigation and I'll bet most officers don't take this step anyway. I would also be real interested in knowing of those that are submitted how may actually end up with license suspensions.

I think reducing the need to drive would be far more effective.
 

Jessie-J

Cyburbian
Messages
386
Points
12
I say if you can get the Senior Citizen discount at movies, restaurants, hotels, etc. then you should be required to take a drivers test more frequently.

The other day, a car here in St. Louis was rear-ended by an elderly driver and a 4 year old boy in the backset was killed. The car that was hit was PARKED.

I am about to GO OFF on the elderly driving....kind of a soft spot for me. I really think there needs to be restriction on their driving... not to mention, they drive like a-holes too. No merging, braking as if the brake pedal was pumping their hearts, don't know which one is the gas pedal?? I don't know, there are some terrible drivers in this city and 90 percent of the time, when I drive past to give a dirty look, it's an old person, hunched over the steering wheel, barely able to see over it. I loved my grandparents, but there is a point where it's just rediculous.

Old people scare me. :)
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
In New South Wales it is mandatory health testing at 80 and mandatory driving tests at 85. More info here.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Rem said:
In New South Wales it is mandatory health testing at 80 and mandatory driving tests at 85. More info here.
A move in the correct direction but I still think it's being done twenty years too late.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I wonder what the Canadians do. My Canadian grangmother was required to take a test which she failed. Twice. She lost her license. I'm not sure that was a bad thing.

We have graduated licenses in some states, that allow a 16-year old to drive under certain conditions. This recognizes that they are not familar with driving and it eases them into full privileges. It is reasonable to similarly limit seniors. At seventy, perhaps they need to take a new test. At 75 maybe they need to test annually. At 80 we might add that they have to pass a health screening as well.

BTW. I saw some footage of the driver being taken into a police car. He had a cane (I question his mobility) and it took him a long time to struggle into the seat (I question his reflexes). Was this guy physically to a level where he should have been driving?
 

Belle

Cyburbian
Messages
142
Points
6
This story is just so sad. There was a Newsweek article last week about elderly driving. I've been thinking about my mom driving and becoming concerned lately, but she just bought a new house in the 'burbs, far from anything else, so a car's a necessity. I usually drive her around when I go to see her, but this weekend I'm going to have her drive so I can see her reflexes.

I think drivers should be administered a test at 60, 65, and 70, and perhaps every 2-3 years after that. It's easier if the state takes away a driver's license, not a family member.

Better housing options for active seniors is certainly needed, and I agree with Runner that anything that reduces automobile dependency (for everyone) is a good thing.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I wonder what the Canadians do.

It depends on the province. ontario yes, my province no.

Our scary luittle old lady drove the wrong way on a divided highway for 30km at about 30km/hour.

Somehow she did not lose enough points to lose her license. What is up with that?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
A couple years back we had an old person mistake this for a road. They drove down the concrete sidewalk and then got their car stuck on the wooden boardwalk. At least we know it was built well.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I say start giving the test at 5 then yearly after that. Alot of the elderly just can't drive anymore. I think alot has to do with them being raised at a time that wasn't as fast paced as ours today. Alot of the elderly look timid or scared driving.

Beware: The AAA sticker
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
The other thing that gets me about drivers is that if I am riding my bike at 30 km/hr in a 50 zone I'll get honked at and cursed. When a blue hair drives that fast everyone is polite and nice about it.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Do you expect the elderly people just to hole up somewhere and die? I want to be able to get around and live my life when I'm eighty just like they're trying to do. Most of those people have two choices: sit at home and watch The Price Is Right and hope that someone will bring them food, or get out there and try to drive as well as they can.

I think this is just more proof that car culture is sick and wrong.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Numb to Carniage !!!

Put him on a Segway. How many people would be killed then? We live with the dangers of automobiles everyday, so we are numb to the daily carniage of automobile use. But put an 83 lb Segway, which has a maximum speed of 12.5 mph, out there and everyone panics like people are going to be mowed down. There was more damage done in this one automobile accident, than 100 Segway users could cause.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
jordanb said:
Do you expect the elderly people just to hole up somewhere and die? I want to be able to get around and live my life when I'm eighty just like they're trying to do. Most of those people have two choices: sit at home and watch The Price Is Right and hope that someone will bring them food, or get out there and try to drive as well as they can.
No, I want elder (and all) communities more ped friendly.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Re: Numb to Carniage !!!

Budgie said:
We live with the dangers of automobiles everyday, so we are numb to the daily carniage of automobile use.
That's one thing that I wish people would figure out. Cars kill something like four times as many people as murderers, and the vast majority of automobile killings are random, while random murders are a small minority (which means you have to do more to put yourself in a position to be murdered), yet most people are scared shitless of crime but shrug off the far-more-prevelant automobile killings.
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
Huston said:
No, I want elder (and all) communities more ped friendly.
Not just ped friendly, but senior service friendly eg: services to provide drives to hospitals; medical clinics; delivery of groceries - go to the store, pick them out and them the store will deliver them or just phone in an order; hairdressers who make house calls

Life doesn't stop because you aren't fit to drive and lose your license. It may if you don't lose your license.

In Nova Scotia your doctor, usually eye doctors, is able to pull your license but some don't get involved but there is no mandatory testing.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
We "Feel" rather than "Think"

jordanb:

Wait a second, haven't you heard!!! SUV's make people "feel" safe on the road. We feel rather than think. (Oops I sound like Rush !!!).

Suggested reading list: "Asphalt Nation" or "The Elephant in the Bedroom".
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
In general, I find the scariest drivers to be teenage boys in pickup trucks; they drive like a bat out of hell. Oh, and all the yuppies living life in the fast lane, who sail thru red lights while yakking on their cell phones.

That said, here in Florida, the primary problem with old people is their tendency to drive way too slow.

I'd like to see the license of anyone yanked, if they show a disregard for others on the road, regardless of age. My mom will be 87 this week, and is still a competent driver, so I'd hate to see her lose her license based just on age. For future planning, though, she moved into a house around the corner from us last year, so that when she is no longer able to drive, I'll be able to take her wherever she needs to go.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Makign cities pedestrian-friendly is not likely to help in the case of many of these old folks. They simply can't get around on their feet. That includes Segways (sorry, Budgie). jmf is right, there need to be transportation services available to older people, and most importantly, people need to realize that their capabilities change as they age, and make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to cope with it. I know it is difficult. I watched my grandparents resist moving from their house to a retirement center (my rural grandmother made the best arrangements she could, with few alternatives available). Still, their choice is not their own when they imperil other people.

I'm wondering what this guy's punishment will be... I feel a poll coming on.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Michael Stumpf said:
I'm wondering what this guy's punishment will be... I feel a poll coming on.
Better yet - a Court of Public Opinion ##XX!
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Some comments on the dangers of elderly drivers and why nothing will be done to about them from conservative/libertarian radio pundit Michael Graham. I don't often agree with him but I think he's right about this one.

http://www.michaelgraham.com
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Okay, okay, okay.

Ped / service friendly. I agree, I agree.

Dense areas can offer better deliverable services. I saw a commercial the other day where you can order your pets medicine to be delivered, I am sure you can do the same for people medicine. Here at the office we get our groceries delivered by Publix. I am sure a combination of delivery / shuttle service (public trans) / ped friendly could mitigate the loss of the ability to drive. No?

But I could be wrong, I usually am.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,415
Points
34
We had a developer bring a subdivision concept before P&Z about three weeks ago that should be an example of how to get the old folks off the roads.

The development is about 200 acres. It had some commercial shops/corner grocery stores near the main road. Nearby is a full-service assisted living and a small nursing home. Also, several 2 & 3 bedroom cottages with common yards, some townhome/row houses and duplexes make up most of the rest of the development and are accessible to everyone, not just old folks. Everything is connected by lit walking trails. They dedicated land for four small city parks. The commercial stuff is within walking distance of every dwelling. The streets are narrow and the cottages have side-load alleys, making life much easier for pedestrians. People can walk with ease instead of relying on cars. The whole development is very old world/new urbanist.

It certainly isn't perfect, but it's a good start.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Michael Stumpf said:
there need to be transportation services available to older people
No one can argue with that, so why haven't our trusted politicians and transportation planners gotten the job done?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
37
Budgie said:
No one can argue with that, so why haven't our trusted politicians and transportation planners gotten the job done?
'cuz I'm too busy wasting time here, eh?
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
Here's what we do:

[paste]
Older driver licence renewal

From the age of 75 drivers must renew their licence more frequently.

Your driver licence will expire on your 75th birthday, 80th birthday, and every even-numbered birthday after that (82nd, 84th, 86th etc.). You must renew your photo driver licence on or before these birthdays.

When you come to renew your photo driver licence you have to:

bring a medical certificate
pass the older driver test, which can be booked when you come in to renew your licence
[/paste]
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
jordanb said:
Do you expect the elderly people just to hole up somewhere and die? I want to be able to get around and live my life when I'm eighty just like they're trying to do.
Amen to that.

We can make changes to improve road safety for older drivers, e.g. brighter road markings, larger lettering on signs. Older people (and in fact, all pedestrians) will benefit from improvements to pedestrian infrastructure such as kerb extensions, avoidance of abrupt changes in grade, and adequate footpath widths. A key issue for older pedestrians is the need for longer crossing phases at signalised intersections.

(I've just been reading the OECD report 'Ageing and Transport: Mobility Needs and Safety Issues' (2001).
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
Futuristic Solution

A robotic driver, it drives the car for them, you can't expect old people to give up their cars. Walking isn't much an option, specially for the ones that are disabled. Of course walking would be good for them, but they can't walk too far. Segways aren't much of an option, because their legs get tired. A Shuttle service, unless it is a dedicated shuttle service, wouldn't be very good for them either, at least not the way the bus system works here... the drivers aren't very soft at all.. and besides they're on a hurry 24/7...

Too bad that something like a robotic driver would only be available when I'm 80 something :p
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Re: Futuristic Solution

SkeLeton said:
Walking isn't much an option, specially for the ones that are disabled. Of course walking would be good for them, but they can't walk too far.
I think walking is entirely an option!!! I am old enough to remember when old folks used to walk quite a bit. I still remember the old man that used to walk by our house everyday well into his 80s or 90s on his several mile long walks.
If more people walked (re. exercised) they might not become "disabled" in the first place.
Yes, some do become mobility impaired but it's not most especially with a regular exercise regimen. Don't let the handicapped license plates and statistics fool you. I've seen plenty of able bodied "handicapped" persons move themselves just fine from their handicapped parking slot to their destination.
It's also quite interesting to observe the elderly getting around just fine on foot in many other countries.
 

LouisvilleSlugger

Cyburbian
Messages
216
Points
9
JNL said:
Amen to that.

We can make changes to improve road safety for older drivers, e.g. brighter road markings, larger lettering on signs. Older people (and in fact, all pedestrians) will benefit from improvements to pedestrian infrastructure such as kerb extensions, avoidance of abrupt changes in grade, and adequate footpath widths. A key issue for older pedestrians is the need for longer crossing phases at signalised intersections.

(I've just been reading the OECD report 'Ageing and Transport: Mobility Needs and Safety Issues' (2001).
those are some great ideas!!!! and with new urbanism on the rise perhaps walking is something that can be promoted. as well as elderly housing within TOD's can help many of them live without an auto, at least be self sufficient.
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
Re: Re: Futuristic Solution

Runner said:
I think walking is entirely an option!!! I am old enough to remember when old folks used to walk quite a bit. I still remember the old man that used to walk by our house everyday well into his 80s or 90s on his several mile long walks.
If more people walked (re. exercised) they might not become "disabled" in the first place.
I think for the next few years we are going to see people who can't or won't walk. Sure my 90+ year old grandparents walk a lot still but they didn't grow up with fast food and cars were a luxury when they were young, walking and other outdoor activities werewas a way of life.

Without question there are exceptions but we are starting to deal with seniors who have always had a car, rarely walked, ate more fast and processed foods. I work in a very small town with 3 Tim Hortons, people here are overweight. Overweight = bad knees and bad hips = difficulty in walking.
 
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