Every couple of weeks or so, I turn on the TV to find what I would call one of the biggest constant media bashups. ‘Senior or Elderly driver loses control of car and shouldn’t have been on the road’ – this is the normal headline every time a news crew is able to get to the scene of a crash and interview people who saw it happen. When you compare the proportion of mature drivers involved in such incidents to those of inexperienced drivers, who these days have even more distractions (mobile phones), they pale into insignificance.
It is a fact that when we age, our reflexes and awareness does slow down and by how much is different for every individual. As with anything that involves a risk, there should be plans in place to regulate when that person is too much of a risk to the people around them. A number of states do currently have 2-3 yearly medical and driving tests for drivers over a certain age, but many of the states don’t, leaving the responsibility of knowing when it is time to give up the keys to the individual or to the family as identified by Chloe’s Dilemma – When is it time to surrender the car keys?
The media needs to back off with its ageist stories and comments which make out that mature members of society are past their use by date.
For more Information on driving tests for older people broken into states and territories, visit www.seniors.gov.au.