Too old to drive?

How Old is Too Old?
– Jennifer Benner

With the recent ban on texting while driving, young drivers have been in the public health and safety spotlight. Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum the following question arises: how old is too old when operating a motor vehicle? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) aging drivers is among the less noted public health issues (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2012). However, concerns on the road become evident with age. Factors including impaired hearing and vision, changes in attention and physical abilities all contribute to the decline in safety among elderly drivers. As a result, risks are increased for not only older citizens but all drivers in general.

Because many impairing issues can come about with age I think it is especially important to monitor the driving of elderly individuals. Although some may consider them more experienced with age, different factors come into play when analyzing the safety of a community as a whole. In response, I feel it is necessary for drivers over the age of 70 to have some type of test to determine if they are still eligible to obtain a driver’s license. Whether it is a written test, driving test or both, I believe ensuring one’s ability to drive safely is an important factor in maintaining a safer environment.

The following link offers a checklist to address what types of things or behaviors should be considered when asking the question; “Am I a safe driver?” This checklist, as well as many others, is available at the AAFP website.

http://www.aafp.org/online/etc/medialib/aafp_org/documents/clinical/pub_health/agingdriver/safedriver.Par.0001.File.tmp/publichealth_safedriver.pdf

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