Friday Flash Poll: Should you really still be driving?

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Around 250 Australians over the age of 65 die in car crashes each year and another 4000 are hospitalised. It is estimated that injury risk is nine times higher per kilometre in drivers 85 years and older compared to drivers between the ages of 25 and 69.

That’s what research from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) in partnership with Transurban says, with a report which claims that injuries sustained by older drivers are also more severe than those suffered in younger age groups.

Little wonder then that road safety for seniors is high on their list.

“At the heart of the safe systems approach is the understanding that humans have inherent frailties, both in terms of how our bodies respond in crashes and in our behaviours. The entire road system, including the vehicles operating in the system, must take these frailties into account,” said Associate Professor Julie Brown.

“Cars are a primary means of transport for senior Australians. They provide independent living and enable social and community engagement and are particularly important where public transport is limited. Car safety is therefore a critical component of healthy ageing.”

One of the more challenging dilemmas for older people is when to hang up the car keys. It can’t be denied that along with ageing, some people will notice a diminishment in certain driving skills, such as slower reflexes, or medical conditions, such as poor eyesight or other impairments, that force your hand. But depending on which state you reside, that decision may be taken out of your hands.

Some states have mandatory testing rules for those over 75. In others, maximum lengths of licence terms revert to three years instead of 10. In some states it is necessary to obtain a doctor’s certificate before you can renew your licence.

But is there a way to tell if you are at the stage of having to stop driving? Should you be preparing to hang up your keys? Is it fair that the decision to stop driving is taken out of your hands? Are you risking your life by staying on the road?

While at a certain stage in life, many drivers may recognise that it’s time to stop driving. However, others persist, despite the obvious signs. We thought we’d ask you a few questions about your driving habits, whether or not you should really still be driving, or when you expect to hand over your car keys.

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And of course, we welcome your opinion in the comments section below.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

134 Comments

Total Comments: 134
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    What about listing the same statistics for a younger age group. Getting tired of some trying to blame car accidents etc on older people. We seem to be an easy target.

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      SOME older drivers really need to retire from driving… usually they are VERY old… but there are some who simply have no idea and never did anyway.

      I never cop tickets for speeding or such… always right on the limit…… cops around here even wave to me….

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      Explains why you’re so boring Trebor
      My last ticket was a month ago . Prior to that it was way back in June last year .Bastards had a mobile camera in the most ridiculous of spots
      I finally bit the bullet and invested in a speed camer detector a couple of weeks ago

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      Trebor – “wave to me”? Probably “waving ya’ on ’cause ya’ driving too slowly! lololol

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      What do you want, a medal or a chest to pin it on?

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      255 deaths age 26 -39. 388 deaths age 40 – 64. I’m with you, Evemack, let’s get the full range not persuading everyone to jump on th over 65s.

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      If you get pulled over Lothario the police will confiscate that detector, we had a gadget that told us directions that the police took away, they said it could be used as a Radar and Camera Detector. I have since been told that there are apps you can get on your phone that will also give you this info so the cops will be busy if they decide to take every one’s mobile phones.

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      Add to the above 228 deaths between age 17 – 25.

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      Yes – radar detectors are illegal in some states….. you need to stop speeding, Lothie.. I wonder how we knew you’d be in that category?

      Me need a medal? Nah… I don’t need medals and I don’t want money … what I want is for you with your Harvard mouth and your faggoty white suit to to show me some blinking courtesy!!

      I also drop back to 100 when the sign says – god, that annoys some people… you know, the usual suspects… the red wun, the ODS, the tradie ute, the 4wd champion with the huge boat/caravan, the wop with no real idea, the young superstar ………..silly old bastard…

      I love it when that sneaky camera I know about flashes some jerk who races past me….. oh, well…. just accept that your elders do know a thing or ten….

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      Enjoy your driving mate …… I love driving and speed still have some points left …. but after visiting Thailand I am not speeding … they drive crazy over 140, 150 + …so if I drive in Thailand at about 120/130 is Ok no worries …. but is Australia I get tickets when they get me over 5Km grgrgrgrgrgrgrg

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      Lothario – wow some of you people have no idea. What the hell is a “speed camera detector”, it’s either a radar detector (generally useless for cameras) or it’s a device that tells you where fixed cameras are placed.

      Which is it?

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      Aussie – have you seen the death toll on the roads in Thailand, 36 deaths per 100,000 people compared to 5 per 100,000 people in Australia. Thailand has one of the worst records in the world – nothing we want here that’s for sure.

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      ……. Lothario probably means his BS detector! lolololol

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      Lothario – you sound proud that your last ticket (apart from one a month ago) was “way back in June last year”

      Wow such a good record, last month and 7 months ago, how many in your lifetime? You know most people with common sense slow down after one, after two they should really be having a hard look at themselves and stick to/under the limits. Not surprised with you though, people who speed are usually arrogant, selfish pric** who feel they are entitled to do whatever they want on the roads, laws don’t apply to them, is that you Lothario.

      “Bastards had a mobile camera in the most ridiculous of spots” What on the road?

      So now you buy a device to try to beat the cameras, hahaha, good luck with that, they conned you big time, the best way to avoid fines is to stay at/under the limits mate – hope you get another ticket soon and the licence is lost, that would be funny.

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      Lothario puts up a good case as to why some people should be taken off the road. He still drives and thinks like an inexperienced teenager. If he hasn’t picked up basic safe driving skills by now he never will.

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      Speed cameras are all about making money – nothing to do with safety
      My car is built for speed and has excellent safety features
      Driving fast on straight roads and hairpin corners is thrilling
      Shame you oldies don’t know how to enjoy the open roads

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      Lothario, I think the nut that holds the steering wheel needs checking. No car design can make up for poor driving attitudes and skills. The safety features are their to protect the idiot who causes the accident, not the poor pedestrian or other driver you hit. You’ve done your money Lothario those camera detectors don’t work, if they did the government would ban them.
      Why would they miss out on the revenue?

  2. 0
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    Statistics lol! You can make them say whatever you want by asking the right question . It’s like the stats on drink drivers ,ask what was the percentage of drivers in the drinking category were .05 or over ?

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      Hmm – 0.05 has always been a problem of government overkill and revenue gathering – every civilised country that has a limit has 0.08 – here we are obviously too dumb to drive after two schooners in a hour… but it’s easy money and yet another piece of social control….. guess who are the main number of those so accused….. two jelly beans for the correct answer…

      NOBODY has ever put out figures on how may accidents (do not) occur at 0.055 or so – they concentrate on the 0.27s and 0.34s …. and say that applies to all….

      I’ll venture to say that there are proportionately the same number of minor accidents at just over 0.05 as there are at 0.00 … but don’t let reality bite governments in the bum when they can get money out of people and also keep them under the thumb.

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      TREBOR – Overkill my arse, you realise the chance of someone dying in an accident who has a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08 is 52 times the non drunk driver and at 0.05 it’s 7 times, a much more acceptable figure. I’d rather see zero for all, what right do you have to drive 2 tonnes of metal down the road when you’re impaired, make a wrong decisions and maybe wipe out a family – tell me why are you so entitled?

      It’s commonly accepted that Europe has a much higher standard of drivers then us and safety standards of roads is far better also. Throughout Europe the limit is 0.05 or lower, Malta, Romania, England and Wales are the only ones with 0.08. Also the US has some states that are 0.05 so your assertion that “every civilised country that has a limit has 0.08” is crap.

      Road toll in Australia is over 1,200 per year in deaths, many due to alcohol, we have to get out of this thinking that “a few drinks is okay, I can still drive fine”, the fact is your reaction times slow, decision making slows and poor decisions are made.

  3. 0
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    The stats have proved over and over that it is the younger generation causing accidents.
    The lawmakers only see what they want to see

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    I am 75 years young. I have just driven to the Gold Coast from Victoria. I have never had an accident. I live in a rural area where I have no public transport. To have my license taken from me would be disastrous. Accidents on the road are caused by all ages for many different reasons. Please do not lump all these accidents to one age group.

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    Older drivers are generally more cautious but there will be a time when it is time to stop driving. That said, I see far more younger drivers who seem to think that the road rules and common decency on the roads do not apply to them and put everyone at risk. Those who constantly push for testing and the like for older drivers never seem to mention that fact.

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      I’ve long said that people should be re-tested after twelve months and then every five years….. I used to be appalled at the prospect of someone getting a P plate, not even driving for a year, and then getting a gold licence that gave them some chance of getting off a fine…. while they obviously still couldn’t drive…

      On the other hands, professional drivers used to see fines as just paying taxes… in the good old days when a cop only had to estimate speed etc…. and pro drivers were (and are still) fair game, since there is an assumption that they break the rules every day anyway.

      Hope that truckie got out of that truck up the road last night – big blaze… should’ve taken my tablet with me and filmed it…

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    I know.. I know – it’s all my fault – I cruise control at the listed speed, use the right lane to overtake and then move back and gee, that irritates other people.. silly old bastard… then I maintain a football field in front and expect one behind… funny thing is that the distance I allow on the highway is pretty much what is shown by the two chevron marks on the Pacific Highway – that say ‘keep this distance between cars’…

    My worst fault is that I’m starting to use the Age of Entitlement Rule when parking – we have two disability card holders onboard, and if that means parking in a stroller spot when the Disabilities are all full – so be it… park a bit crooked? Stuff it – I’m an official old bastard now…

    Footnote – I’ve driven Sydney and highway traffic for years as a security driver … lots of experience…. and the only times I get impatient are when people do stupid stuff like tail gate or cruise beside me after charging up from behind, when they can clearly see a slower vehicle coming up in front.

    Holidays are the worst – Sunday drivers let out for weeks…. can’t even use one side of the lanes in the supermarket parking lot .. so I aim at them to move them over… (snuckles)…

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      Couple of points Bob, I’ve found that if you leave 3 car lengths between you and the car in front, they will quickly be filled by drivers in a hurry. Why have shopping centres taken the disabled parking spaces and turned them into pram spaces? Most new mothers are young, have lovely big prams worth more than my car and have no trouble ambulating.

      I too have pet hates on the highway, the drivers who don’t like to be overtaken and speed up when someone tries to pass then slow down again. I won’t exceed the speed limit to pass these people but it’s frustrating. The other type who believe that they are really pseudo police and sit beside another car doing the speed limit to stop those who travel a bit above the limit from overtaking. My experience is that both these types cannot be stuck into an age bracket but cover all ages.

      If statistics are going to be kept on accidents, ages and driving abilities, it’s worthwhile looking at those drivers who spend the majority of the year in city traffic and head off onto the country roads with little experience of driving at the speed limits applicable.

      I too am an official Old Bastard (I am a member of AOOOB) and it’s not our age that makes us do the things we do Bob. It’s just that we’ve reached an age where we are comfortable with ourselves, don’t have to answer to anyone else and we don’t tolerate Richard Craniums.

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      On the highway I sort of stick close to the centre line when someone overtakes – usually with lights on – as long as they can see those lights bright, they know they are too close to change over. Cities, of course, are a different kettle of road accidents….

      I’ve long said that a special test is required to drive on a highway – it ain’t Parramatta Road peak hour, sonny/girlie… get TF well in front before you change lanes back at 110kph. We had a prang here once – two wild horses bolted when a trukc cam over a crest, and ran straight into it – one was hit and flung onto a small car that was overtaking the truck… hell of a mess.

      Point is – when you overtake and change back – leave a big gap, since you don’t know when something might happen suddenly… then who gets the blame for any rear-ender because YOU have to brake hard suddenly?

      Think ahead… some need a head to think with….

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      I found a way to stop being tailgated. Buy a car that runs on lpg. I can guarantee those lpg fumes will get rid of tailgaters quick smart.

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      Old Man – “Why have shopping centres taken the disabled parking spaces and turned them into pram spaces”
      From my experience there are still the same number if not more disabled spots, the parents with pram spots are near doors so that they don’t have to maneuver through the carpark traffic with a pram and often other kids running around.

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      So, Greg, it’s OK for elderly folk on walkers and in wheelchairs to manoeuver through the carpark traffic with less agility and reaction time than young mothers?

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      Old Man – get off the illegal drugs buddy, read what I wrote, disabled spots are still there, plenty of them, the carparks have removed regular spots and replaced them with the parents with prams. you asked why have shopping centres install the parents with prams spots so I told you and then you have a go at me.

      Bloody hell, I hope I don’t get as stupid, selfish and ignorant as you when I’m older.

  7. 0
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    Who is it you see weaving in and out of traffic dangerously, pulling out in front from intersections when there is a free road behind the car you pulled in front of – not the elderly but the under 50’s – happens time and time again. You statisticians – how many drink drivers are there in the over 65 range? Yes Von accidents are caused for many different reasons and it is unfair to lump them all with the over 65’s.

  8. 0
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    It’s not so much about age but rather how confident and competent we are behind the wheel.

  9. 0
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    Mobility is crucial to the independence and quality of life of older people. It is far cheaper to assist older people to continue an independent life in their own home. The needs of older people should be taken into account in town planning and transport policy.

  10. 0
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    My accident and speeding fine rates have not changed since I started driving at 18 except for a brief lull in my 40’s when I musta had mid life crisis

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