Senior driving always comes under the spotlight after a major accident happens involving a senior. However, just as some younger drivers are better than others, many older drivers are also perfectly capable of driving safely.
Aging does present some challenges, as eyesight may diminish if Macular Degeneration has developed or there is hearing loss or slower responses due to difficulty with movement caused by a stroke or arthritis. As some of the age-related diseases, including memory loss, develop slowly and progress at different rates, it does make sense to check driving skills at least annually, once we are of an age considered "senior". In the U.S.A., people qualify for Social Secuirty retirement payments at age 62 so that seems like a reasonable age to also start checking driving skills every year.
AARP (American Association of Retired People), now makes it a little easier to test driving skills, by offering a positive approach to this through a course called "Driver Safety Course". And seniors who are veterans may take this course for free, as AARP's tribute to military personnel.
You may review the senior driving laws in each state - some state's do require in-person tests at a certain age. Other states, such as California, were unable to pass such laws as some people considered this age-discrimination. Instead, in California you can report anyone, at any age, as a dangerous driver and request a local law authority to contact them for an in-person driving review. This law was passed after the elderly man accidentally stepped on the gas pedal, instead of the brakes, and plowed down several people walking through the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Some people were killed and others were seriously injured. The saddes part is the elderly man really did not mean to cause the accident and had to live with what happened.
Even though it can be difficult to confront a senior who may have issues with driving, by bringing up the concern for safety, you can begin the conversation. Then rely on the laws in your area to take action if the senior no longer can safely drive.
You may locate an AARP Driver Safety Course in your area and mention "November's special Veteran's Promotion" to receive the course for free if you are a veteran.
You may also find some humor in all of this by viewing the television show South Park's episode called "Grey Dawn" when the senior citizens got behind the wheel and took over the town.
seniordriving, elderlydriversafety, AARP