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Should Seniors over a Certain Age take Driver Competency Tests: Yes or No?

JMCC 2012/08/30 10:11:47
Yes, seniors should take a test...
No, seniors need not take a test...
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It has been frequently suggested that seniors over 70 should take periodic driver competency tests to ensure that they are still capable of driving safely. In the light of this recent incident, you you believe that there should be a test, how often and what should it include?



A 100-year-old man reversed his car on to a pavement and hit 11 people, including nine children from a primary school, in Los Angeles, California.

Four children were in critical condition when firemen arrived on the scene but are all expected to survive.

Parents and children were buying snacks from a stall after school finished on Wednesday when Preston Carter backed a powder blue Cadillac towards them.

Some of the children ended up trapped under the car.
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I'm sorry about that”

Preston Carter Driver

People tried to get the driver's attention, but it was too late.

A fire captain said the four children who were badly hurt were now stable, in serious condition in hospital.

Mr Carter told a local news station: "My brakes failed. It was out of control." He also said he had a driving licence and would be 101 on 5 September.

When asked about hitting the children, he said: "You know I'm sorry about that. I wouldn't do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them."

Police believe he was driving out of the car park of a grocery shop, but drove on to the pavement instead of pulling into the street.A 100-year-old man reversed his car on to a pavement and hit 11 people, including nine children from a primary school, in Los Angeles, California.

Four children were in critical condition when firemen arrived on the scene but are all expected to survive.

Parents and children were buying snacks from a stall after school finished on Wednesday when Preston Carter backed a powder blue Cadillac towards them.

Some of the children ended up trapped under the car.

People tried to get the driver's attention, but it was too late.

A fire captain said the four children who were badly hurt were now stable, in serious condition in hospital.

Mr Carter told a local news station: "My brakes failed. It was out of control." He also said he had a driving licence and would be 101 on 5 September.

When asked about hitting the children, he said: "You know I'm sorry about that. I wouldn't do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them."

Police believe he was driving out of the car park of a grocery shop, but drove on to the pavement instead of pulling into the street.

Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19419495

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Top Opinion

  • Matt 2012/08/30 11:08:05
    Undecided
    Matt
    +4
    Seniors are a very powerful voting bloc. Anybody who crosses them is toast. I'm glad that I don't make the laws.
    senior citizen driving funny

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  • mustangluver 2012/08/31 08:27:16
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    mustangluver
    +1
    Most def starting at 80.. The senior drivers here are a nightmare. They swerve all over the road. They ride the brake. They drive slow. They cut ppl off left and right. They cross over 3 lanes. They go through lights. They sit at green lights so you have to give them the horn. They side swipe. They back into cars in parking lots. They are taking meds and falling asleep at the wheel. They get out of their car and leave it in drive. It is a battlefield here..a nightmare! They come out of the supermarket and have no idea where they parked. Every single day here something happens because of seniors who are in their 80s and beyond..very dangerous! Then there's the teens and the drunks!
  • bob h. 2012/08/31 02:10:12
    No, seniors need not take a test...
    bob h.
    +1
    One guy backs up? That's all you got? In FL. we have 6 ODs a day just on store bought Oxy. 11,000+ a yr gunshot deaths in the US. Do we ban guns?
  • ☆stillthe12c☆ 2012/08/30 22:35:39
    None of the above
    ☆stillthe12c☆
    +1
    I really think that they need to bring them in every 4 or 5 years. I live in a n area where there are many of us around 70 + years old. I see many of them that do not look when they backup and they will back right out in front of you. When I am at the mall were many of the go during the day I drive very carefully. Especially when I am on my motorcycle. I am not sure that it is they can not turn to look or just do not do it. I also have to say I see many of the teens making the same mistake. In the near future I think that I may have to stop my own wife from driving. She was in an accident about 20 years ago and it has changed the way that she drives. She is now to cautious and unsure of herself. She stops way to far from other cars and if the person behind her is not paying really good attention she is going to stop much further back than the anticipate.
  • Cat 2012/08/30 21:20:17
    None of the above
    Cat
    +1
    Only if they get pulled over for some driving error, or are involved in an accident that could have bee fully or partially their fault.
    Anything stricter would be too costly for the states to afford in today's economy, and would be discriminatory.
  • JMCC Cat 2012/08/30 21:22:28
    JMCC
    +1
    Yet we discriminate against people being too young, is there so much of a difference?
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/30 23:00:10
    Cat
    +1
    Not all seniors loose their driving skills or their wits, actually most die of heart disease, kidney disease, cancer etc, long before their faculties fail.
    No child is born able to drive nor mature enough to make split second decisions in traffic,
    That is why we have tests and a minimum age requirements. Although I would agree that some kids as young as 13 might possess the maturity to be safe drivers, the vast majority are not and it would be unreasonably expensive for states to issue learning permits and to test them when most would just fail.
    (One of my past jobs was giving drivers' tests)
  • JMCC Cat 2012/08/30 23:04:57 (edited)
    JMCC
    You quite rightly have said that not all seniors lose their abilities, which is why the test might be required periodically - to determine those that have...

    After all it is not as though we are talking about pulling all licenses at that age...
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/30 23:17:25
    Cat
    +1
    They had that debate in the general assembly of cash-strapped Pennsylvania. My opinion was the consensus, and having been a contract worker for PennDOT I guess I figured that debate was over. I guess I was wrong.
  • JMCC Cat 2012/08/30 23:30:58
    JMCC
    I suspect it is going to be a perennial question until accidents stop either by its introduction, or cars becoming smart enough to prevent it from happening altogether.
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/30 23:52:47
    Cat
    +1
    If seniors are a major cause of accidents the police aren't doing their jobs of ordering retests when they pulled seniors over for violations, or the state has no such law giving the officer that option
    If the senior has an accident and no officer ever saw him driving badly then he has a new condition that would not have prevented him from passing a test just previous to coming down with the new condition. And now that he was "just retested" and "passed", how will you keep him off the road?.
  • JMCC Cat 2012/08/30 23:56:54
    JMCC
    It is difficult. My grandmother had glaucoma in both eyes and in the last year or so of driving was unsafe, but there was nothing we could do legally to prevent her from driving.

    In the end, it was only when (bending under pressure) she asked her eye specialist if she should be and he replied "Good Lord no, you should have stopped doing that several years ago when you were first diagnosed..."
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/31 00:11:42
    Cat
    +1
    I see you're in GB. You need some kind of law that will address that. Even there you have lots of constabulary that could be trusted to judge a person's driving ability, and order a retest of even just a eye test.
    You know that you guys drive on the wrong side of the road, don't you? LOL
  • JMCC Cat 2012/08/31 00:16:26
    JMCC
    It is believed that it was the invention of the handgun (which has never been popular in the UK) that caused people to choose the right hand side of the road?

    If you pass someone on the left you present your sword arm, if you pass someone on the right, you can shoot more steadily over the saddle and across the body...

    (Or so I have heard :)
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/31 01:08:34
    Cat
    +1
    That makes more sense than anything else I've heard. Works for Japan too.
  • Cat JMCC 2012/08/30 23:56:11
    Cat
    +1
    Actually I think I may have read lately that the state was considering or may have even passed a law requiring retests at 80, 90, and 100 years old. I'm not sure about that as i haven't been on that job since 2004.
  • Swift Wolf 2012/08/30 19:25:39
    No, seniors need not take a test...
    Swift Wolf
    +1
    They take the same test eveybody takes and don't need to be singled out.
    Everybody has to renew their licenses and unsafe drivers should be found then or when they start to become unsafe.
    Some people slow down as they get older, some lose the ability to drive, but nobody becomes a non-person.
    Getting old is difficult enough, don't single out people due to age (or maybe young adults, who have the highest accident rate, should be monitored 24/7 as they drive with audio, video, and breathalyser testing).
    You don't generalize any group and hope to have freedom.
  • Rod 2012/08/30 17:56:33 (edited)
    Undecided
    Rod
    +2
    Perhaps, but at what age? I am 70 and I am still a very competent driver. IO realize my limitations and the fact that my reflexes may be a "little" slower, but I make up for that because of my experience. If you look at the statistics you will find that percentage wise older drivers are much safer drivers than drivers under the age of 40. Go figure.

    A 100 year old driver has an accident so immediately older drivers are unsafe? 100 year old driver has an accident so there is a call to test drivers over 70? Come on use some common sense. Today's 70 is yesterdays 50. 70 year old people today are much healthier, more active and much more alert than they were just a few years ago. Use some common sense here.
  • JMCC Rod 2012/08/30 17:59:24
    JMCC
    +1
    This is true, and at the other end of the spectrum young drivers who are tested are less experienced and tend to take more risks.

    The danger is when people are unprepared to acknowledge their limitations, because to do so is perceived as a loss of independence.
  • traveler818 2012/08/30 17:22:07
    Undecided
    traveler818
    +1
    I voted undecided because some seniors do just fine. But I have also seen seniors lose control in a parking lot and end up on the hood of another car. Thank goodness no one was hurt, and the whole scene looked like they lost their brakes---of that, I am almost certain, so what would have happened if they were younger? A beginner probably would have had the same result. But, I think it is probably a good idea, just don't quote me. I have senior friends who would not be pleased. I remember another such accident at, I think, a Santa Monica flea market--an 84 yr old man lost control of his car and plowed into the midst of the market. I think I should have checked yes.
  • Cookielane 2012/08/30 15:01:03
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    Cookielane
    +1
    I hate to say it, but it's true. when my Mom's Alzheimer's started to show symptoms, she was sideswiping cars - and drove into a garbage truck. she didn't even realize something was wrong. It happens a lot.
  • twocrows 2012/08/30 14:50:00
    Undecided
    twocrows
    +1
    certainly, 100 years of age is too old [imo] to be driving. 70? hmmmmmmm.

    how about retesting people of every age every 10 years? after all, I know I can make the case that there are 75-y-o people who drive more safely than many 30-y-o's. if we're going to test people, why not make everyone prove they can drive safely?

    jfwiw - I know a number of elderly people who have voluntarily surrendered their car keys. do you know of any 19-y-o who regularly plays leap-frog on the freeway to do the same?
  • travele... twocrows 2012/08/30 18:15:33
    traveler818
    I agree ie age 70 being maybe a bit young. I know an 81-year-old who drives just fine. Where do you draw the line? The accident I mentioned above (with the lost brakes) could have happened to anyone. The main difference is the poor women were horribly shook up, but fortunately unhurt because despite how it ended, they did the right thing in an emergency, and achieved the best possible outcome under the circumstances. I think they were in their '70's and still used quick thinking to do the best thing they could--though the cars were totalled, no one was hurt. Had they panicked, someone would surely have been.
  • Dodgerfan 2012/08/30 13:44:45
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    Dodgerfan
    +1
    I'm now in that category and there are far too many elderly that should not be on the roads behind the wheel. Walking maybe, but not behind the wheel driving.
  • mich52 2012/08/30 13:28:34
  • slickdolphin 2012/08/30 13:20:56
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    slickdolphin
    +1
    Hell yes I'm sorry after a certain age you see less and are much more slower
  • Fred Rogers 2012/08/30 13:03:59
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    Fred Rogers
    +2
    Definitely.
  • Bill G53 ~PWCM~JLA 2012/08/30 12:27:37
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    Bill G53  ~PWCM~JLA
    +2
    Many people like pilots have to be tested annually, don't they or am I wrong about that. Seniors should have to provide some sort of evidence that they are capable of managing an automobile.
  • Swift Wolf Bill G5... 2012/08/30 19:30:28
    Swift Wolf
    +1
    True, but unsafe drivers should be caught during renewal of license or if someone notices them slipping unaware. If you notice an unsafe driver, you should report them (but don't hassle me when you find more young people walking than seniors).
  • l 2012/08/30 12:24:44
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    l
    +2
    I think it would be the responsible thing to do and perhaps save the life of the Senior or others,in a few cases!
  • Kat ♪.BTO-t-BCRA-F~PWCM~ 2012/08/30 12:13:14
    Undecided
    Kat ♪.BTO-t-BCRA-F~PWCM~
    +1
    Some maybe, there should be some warning signs to their friends, families or doctors that someone is not capable of driving. Some are very good drivers, depends on the person.
  • La 2012/08/30 12:03:23
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    La
    +2
    In fact everyone should. Middle aged men are the worst, most arrogant drivers.
  • Bob DiN 2012/08/30 11:35:24
    Undecided
    Bob DiN
    +2
    Only if their doctors recommend it.
  • Matt 2012/08/30 11:08:05
    Undecided
    Matt
    +4
    Seniors are a very powerful voting bloc. Anybody who crosses them is toast. I'm glad that I don't make the laws.
    senior citizen driving funny
  • Rusty Shackleford 2012/08/30 10:50:39
    No, seniors need not take a test...
    Rusty Shackleford
    +4
    If someone causes an accident, how do you know it's age related?

    Seriously, how do you know?
  • JMCC Rusty S... 2012/08/30 10:54:45
    JMCC
    +3
    You can't know for certain.

    What we do know is that age can impair function in eyesight, mobility and reaction times - all factors that lead to roadside sobriety tests in cases of alcohol or drug intoxication.

    Is it not prudent to ensure that these seniors are still capable? As much for their own sakes as much for others?
  • Rusty S... JMCC 2012/08/30 11:00:13
    Rusty Shackleford
    +1
    Would it not be more prudent to test all drivers that cause accidents?

    Incompetence may increase with age, but it is not exclusive to it.
  • JMCC Rusty S... 2012/08/30 11:01:58
    JMCC
    +2
    Sure why not?
  • Swift Wolf JMCC 2012/08/30 19:35:04
    Swift Wolf
    +1
    The key word is "can" and not "do". Until that changes, I don't support singling out any group of people.
    The facts hold that young drivers cause more and more serious accidents than seniors (who generally piss people off because they go slower)...to be fair, you'd have to at least monitor drivers into their 30's (married with children).
  • Rusty Bubbles 2012/08/30 10:18:31
    Yes, seniors should take a test...
    Rusty Bubbles
    +3
    Friends, family, stunned by motorcyclists' deaths
    Men killed during memorial ride for fallen soldier


    Police said Aaron Robar, 41, and Gary Champney, 59, were killed when a car crossed over the center line on Route 12 in Westmoreland on Saturday. Investigators said the 87-year-old driver couldn't explain why he crossed the line, and police have not said whether he will face charges.

    The Division of Motor Vehicles said the driver of the car has a valid license and a clean driving record. New Hampshire no longer has a law requiring regular testing of drivers older than 75.

    Both men killed in the crash were members of a New Hampshire Rolling Thunder group, an organization that rides for veterans.



    Read more: http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-n...
  • Swift Wolf Rusty B... 2012/08/30 19:43:32
    Swift Wolf
    CDC stats
    "Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.1 In 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash."

    "In 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. Driving helps older adults stay mobile and independent. But the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes. Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females."

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