Older drivers hounded

Older drivers are facing age discrimination which is making it more difficult for them to retain their licences, a new report has revealed.

Released yesterday by The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the Council on the Ageing (COTA), the report (based on a survey with 445 responses) found that there was still a stigma attached to ageing.

There were claims in the report of very poor attitudes to older drivers, including the alleged response of a police officer regarding a road rage incident:

“How old are you? You were probably crawling”.

Acting Commissioner Karen Toohey said,

“Older drivers are often portrayed as a risk or a danger, when in fact statistics show this is not the case. Yet in Victoria each year many older people are required to provide evidence that they are safe on the roads because they have been reported as a risk on the roads by family members, health professionals or just people on the street.

For some people this is a genuine issue, but many who spoke to us had done nothing to be considered a risk – other than be seen as being old. These attitudes are evidence that ageism and age discrimination remain significant issues in our community,”

Other concerns highlighted by the report include being required to undergo medical testing or review in situations where it didn’t seem warranted, only being allowed to renew their license for three year periods at a time, being treated unfairly by members of the public, being dealt with unfairly by officers at VicRoads and being treated unfairly by Victoria Police.

Ms Toohey said that people should be able to stay on the road for as long as they are safe to do so without being subjected to discrimination and unnecessary intervention.

Read more at www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au.

Opinion: Get off the road? Why should you?

The report released by The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission really confirms what many older Australians know. When you reach a certain age and stage, you get treated a certain way. And that way is usually uncomplimentary, to say the least. This often means that, when you are travelling in a car, there is an assumption that, because you don’t exceed the speed limit, you are driving too slowly. And you are driving too slowly, clearly, because you are old and don’t know that breaking the speed limit is the cool thing to do. This is obviously a problem as older drivers are often subject to scorn, abuse, and at the worst level, full-on road rage. But when this discrimination is covert, as evidenced by doctors, family members and others reporting older drivers when their skills are still intact, then this really has to be addressed. So congratulations to the Commission and COTA for initiating this research and telling it like it is.

What about you?

Do you/have you experienced discrimination as an older driver?