YOUR TURN: Restrictions for Elderly Drivers?

Should the state intervene when drivers reach a certain age?

Last week, . While this and other nationally publicized accidents raise public concerns about senior drivers, AAA says it is a myth that seniors are among the nation’s most dangerous. Instead, AAA's Jake Nelson said just the opposite is true. 

“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,” said Nelson, who is AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research.  “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? 


[Editor's note: This item is posted on all eight Boston Patch sites.]

Sean September 14, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Massachusetts already gives licenses to people who shouldnt be on the road in the first place all drivers should be retested every year no matter what the age period. How? Simple. under all weather scenarios rain snow slush snow and ice dirt prove how to properly merge onto a highway properly use there signals run over spikes and safely stop the vehicle how to properly come out of a skid. If no-one likes it tough you get caught for failure to do so automatic forfeit of your payckeck of a certain percentage. Reinstatement fee is based on you anual income.
Ronald Zmuda September 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
SEan dry up and blow away
Southender September 14, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Sean, you are full of it.
Timothy Crawford September 15, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Sean I'm sure the Democrat Socialists will love you...you need to take your meds...wait I know if they fail twice we take their house!! loser
Andrea Cherez September 15, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Yes, Sean's on the right path. All drivers should also have to successfully complete the Iditarod every year to prove their ability to stay awake during all kinds of challenges. I had thought that folks 80 and older should have to take a road test every few years but if the numbers from AAA are correct, then maybe not. At least older seniors aren't texting while driving.
Owen September 15, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Huh? Why do conservatives immediately fly off into the weeds on some weird political rant about pretty much everything?
Mike Clifford September 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
The stats tell the story. Teenagers are much more dangerous. Oddly, nobody is suggesting that THEY should be restricted.
Lee Blasi September 17, 2012 at 02:34 PM
We have people driving who are unlicensed, can't read road sign because of language, are drinking alcohol, are on drugs, are 17 with minimal attention and we want to concentrate on people who are older, experienced and often times wiser than the average driver. This makes sense why??


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