Should Old People be Banned from Driving?

Old Driver

Back when I first started Automoblog.net, I wrote a post about the elderly and what restrictions should be placed on them regarding driving. Clearly this is an issue on the roads, and people had many opinions to share regarding the issue. I would like to revisit the post, and hear some more opinions regarding the matter.

In the time since that post was written, I’ve personally experienced more bad situations regarding the issue, and I’m sure many of my readers have as well.

Should elderly drivers be banned from driving? Many seem to think so. Motorinsurance.co.uk, an online insurance broker reported that 49% of drivers want elderly drivers banned. Paul Cosh is the managing director of MotorInsurance, and had a few comments on which I would like to comment:

“I do not think that picking on this nation’s most careful and experienced drivers is really the answer.

Yeah, my dad was awesome at football back in his day. He’s very experienced, that doesn’t mean he should still do it.

“To be honest, the views shown by this poll are quite shocking and simply do not stand up against the facts.

“Of course increased age brings its challenges, but healthy older drivers typically try to compensate for deficiencies. If anything, they also drive more carefully and avoiding risk-taking in general.

“To suggest that older drivers are a danger on the roads is a statistically unfounded stereotype and if anyone wants to debate the safety record of an 80 year-old compared with the average 20 year-old, my door is always open.”

The point is, I know for a fact that old people are a danger on the roads. I have seen many accidents (some involving people I know) that were caused by nothing but an incompetent old person not paying attention, and not having the reaction times necessary to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, making it worse.

Old Driver

Paul Cosh, who I quoted above is clearly an idiot, but banning old people from driving completely seems a little bit extreme. But what about people who can’t react in a timely manner, can’t make reasonable decisions, and can’t see or hear as well as other drivers? Allowing them on the road as freely as anybody else is as ridiculous as allowing drunk drivers on the road.

I’ve been in one accident and have otherwise had very close situations in which I had to make fast decisions as to what to do, and only one has been from a drunk driver. The others from old people who didn’t know what they were doing, and I would be surprised if they knew where they were. Disclaimer: I do not have anything against old people, and I hate drunk drivers. I don’t want you to take the last paragraph the wrong way. I just have a problem with old people driving.

So back to the solution. What to do? Like I said above, banning them all from the road completely is extreme, but allowing them all to drive is ridiculous. I propose that beginning at age 65 (maybe 70,) the driver takes a strict driving test every year. Obviously this will keep the dangerous ones off the road, and the competent ones can still drive.

A few states already implement something like this, like Rhode Island who requires drivers over 70 to renew their licenses every two years but take only the standard vision test. However, I think it should be more thorough. Illinois requires road tests for drivers over 75 who want to renew their licenses, while 15 other states have an accelerated renewal schedule. At least five states have stopped mail-in renewals for older drivers. But that’s obviously not enough.

What are your opinions on this? Do you think all people over a certain age should be banned, or do you think everybody should have the right to drive? What age should we start requiring testing, and how frequent should the testing be?

  1. Old drivers need to be tested and if they fail have their license removed. My Grandma stumbles around on a clear floor, cant remember anyone’s name, drives 20ish mph no matter the speed limit of the road/highway, lacks all types of hand eye coordination, and is on a cocktail of medication that does only god knows. Yet she gets offended if someone talks to her about giving up her license. She is a danger to those on the road and around the road, and peoples property. But she and other older people don’t see it that way, this is a situation where younger people need to make a decision for their elders.

  2. Old people (those 65+) should only be allowed to drive a car with a standard transmission. NO more "confusing" the gas and brake pedals — car will stall if they lack the coordination to properly drive. Damned if I want to be getting my Big Gulp when some senile grandma crashes her le Baron through the window of the 7-11 'cause she thought she was hitting the brake and really was flooring it.

  3. WHAT I THINK HE IS RIGHT BUT I THINK ONCE THEY FAILED PASSING THE TEST THEIR LICSENCE SHOULD BE TAKEN AWAY THAT WAY WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE THAT ARE OLD CAN NOT DRIVE SHOULD BE OUT OF THE STREETS. I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT THAT I RECOVER WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL JUST BECAUSE A VERYOLD PERSON COULD NOT SEE WHERE HE WAS DRIVING. ^_^

    1. I respect that you drove perfectly fine back then but this is a different time and if the testing did take place if you are still able to drive like you did in Japan back then I have no problem with you on the road it is the elderly citizens that drive un safe that I am worked about not you in individually I hope that makes sense and does not offend you.

  4. I think that seriously, its not a case of us not being fair towards old people, its a matter of safety. Just the same as very young or very old people cant ride certain amusement park rides, or cat participate in certain activities such as firefighting or police patrol work. There comes a time when political correctness needs to come second to being safe. Besides causing millions of dollars due to insurance claims, the truth is many people that otherwise would be alive today are dead at the hands of an old person. This, in my opinion, is a preventable disease that can be treated and cured with mandates for specific tests once a person reaches a certain age.

  5. I think that seriously, its not a case of us not being fair towards old people, its a matter of safety. Just the same as very young or very old people cant ride certain amusement park rides, or cat participate in certain activities such as firefighting or police patrol work. There comes a time when political correctness needs to come second to being safe. Besides causing millions of dollars due to insurance claims, the truth is many people that otherwise would be alive today are dead at the hands of an old person. This, in my opinion, is a preventable disease that can be treated and cured with mandates for specific tests once a person reaches a certain age.

  6. Thank you for making this site it is full of information I can use for a project I’ll be sure to put you in the bibliography

  7. I got hit by an 85 year old man , when I was on my motorcycle (doing25mph) , why? Because his eyesight and reaction time is less then half of an avarage man!!! Now someone , anyone can you please give me a legitamite reason why they should be allowed to drive ? A trip to the grocery store is not worth my life ! Or wherever they have to go , with all do respect to elders , at least think about your own lives since you are so inconsiderate for others. And let me just add that I had multiple skull fractures , broken leg , and ha to go under brain surgery , I had 68 stiches on my head alone, and I’m 22 years old btw.

  8. Two hours ago, I was driving back from hospital to home after seeing my husband. I was on the main road. A car came out from a side street so close to me and I tried to avoid a crash and swerved on the centre line so the car can turn left without hitting me. But the car didn’t turn left. It swerved to right from left and came straight at my car. I couldn’t avoid the car because I would crash to other cars if I tried. My first car crash. I’ve been driving for over 20 years. The man was 83 years old with a big shiny expensive looking car. My car is 9 years old Toyota Corolla. My car is insured but his car is not. I have to go without a car till it’s fixed but at least I don’t have to pay for the repair. Tow truck driver said “The stupid old man should have had insurance. If he had insurance I could arrange a replacememt car for you.” The old man didn’t even say “Sorry”. He only said “You don’t have to upset like that. I said I will pay for the repair.” Now I really think Old People Shouldn’t Drive.

  9. Narrowly avoided a crash on a motorcycle at night the other day, an old lady pulled out of a junction who should have clearly seen me coming down the straight. She waited until I was nearly at the junction to pull out, luckily I always slow down near junctions for situations where people just don’t look, and so managed to slow down enough and swerve to miss her…..this time at least!

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