Old Driver

Should Old People be Banned from Driving?

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?

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  1. You're right John, I think tests need to be done and the law should be based on something much more specific than "ban old people." I also agree that we can be too aggressive as a whole while driving. However, no matter how much we *should* be driving more conservatively, we don't. And that means that driving too slow and too conservatively is a hazard. Should it be? No, but it is, regardless of how it *should* be.

    My main problem with "old people" driving is that many of them don't have the ability, reflexes, vision, and hearing to drive safely, but they do anyway. In fact I was standing in a parking lot two days ago smoking, and witnessed a man (he must have been at least 80 years old) back right into a parked Buick. There were no cars around, he had plenty of room, yet he backed right up into it, causing damage. When he got out he could barely walk. He should not have been on the road. He poses a serious danger to other drivers, and should have his license revoked. Yet we still allow this…why?

  2. I am 15 years old and next week I will be taking the driving test to obtain my license. From what I've learned in driver's ed. and experience on the road, the most problematic areas are in high traffic. It's not just older people but people of all ages. My dad, who is 37, is a worse driver than all of my grandparents. I think that this is caused from a lapse in teaching young drivers. If you never learn to drive right in the first place it's going to show on the road. I think that we should implement a test starting at the age of 65 that would require a little more depth than the standard driver's test. It is, however, a fact that older people are a danger on the road. In fact they almost tie my age group in probability of wrecking.

  3. You're right Mitch, it seems to me that driving skill is slowly going out the door as years go on. I don't know how to fix it, but something needs to change, people are just becoming too selfish to care about using blinkers, being courteous, staying in the right lane unless passing, etc. It's becoming ridiculous just to drive anymore.

  4. We Are Doing Science Corsework at my school and the quiestion

    is 'Should old people be aloud to drive?'

    id like it if any people would be able to help me by givng me websites to check out

    or leave a comment about what you think.

    Thanks x

  5. Emma, We r also doin coursework and u don't hear us askin 4 help, do your own work, spooner

  6. Well Emma, you see all of our opinions in the article or in the comments. If you need clarification, just ask.

  7. Smokin' hot chick .. right coz i do know ya !

    i dont come onto decent sites to start a sh-t stir so dont be a

    " spooner " as you say and sort ya life out !

    and don't bother writing bak i dont really talk to low lifes that go onto sites like this just to start sh-t !!

  8. Its very simple, after a certain age give them a driving test and if they can still drive let them drive, if not then ban them from driving.

  9. I agree with Daine. As people grow older, they should take tests more and more frequently. Tests that will evaluate their competence to drive safely.

  10. hello io think old people should be banned from driving because my cousin died by one

  11. OLD PEOPLE SHOULD NOT DRIVE>>IVE SEEN SO MANY OLD PEOPLE WHO CAN BARELY SEE OVER THE STEARING WHEEL AND THEY CANT SEE THE ROAD AND RUN RED LIGHTS SWITCH LANES WITHOUT LOOKING THEY SHOULD BE BANNED OR RETESTED OVER 65 END OF STORY NO QUESTIONS ASKED! I SAW AN OLD MAN HIT MY CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME WHILE IT WAS PARKED NOT TO MENTION THE COUNTLESS TIMES IM DRIVING AND THEY ALMOST HIT ME ON THE ROAD. WATCH THE SOUTH PARK EPISODE WITH OLD PEOPLE DRIVING IT ACTUALLY HAS A GOOD POINT!

  12. listen here all you old people. I'm still alive. I like to eat old people. they are chewy. easy to brake their bones.

    keep driving chuck…

    Im already after you!

  13. Hello, i am 90 years of age and i believe that i am a terrible driver. Therefore i believe that old people should not be able to drive. GET ME OFF THE ROADS! But i do also believe that the government should pay for all us old pensioners to have free taxi's to pick us up from our homes. Until they do, WATCH OUT, im dangerous. Many thanks, Dot.

  14. i a, doing corse work on should old people be allowed to drive and i cant find anything does eny one have any ideas on where i can find research because this doent tell me anythin thanks

  15. i've recently been attacked by an old lady and her handbag because her car stopped and i went into the back of her, cleary they shouldnt be on the road, they cant drive and should be bloody banned!

    end of discussion.

  16. Simple logic — retest every year. I think that a half-senile old person driving is going to exhibit delayed reaction times, "tunnel vision" (doesn't notice a child/animal on the side of the road), and inattentiveness in a similar degree to drunk drivers. Whether you're blowing 0.09 or pushing 90, your reaction and attention is too impaired to be a safe driver. Test 'em, check their response time. No "street" testing, give them a coned-off parking lot, and have a random "deer crossing the road" / "child running after a ball" cardboard cutout test. did they notice it?

  17. Good point Ahanix, typical road tests wouldn't be enough, and they'd need specialized tests to determine their suitability to the road.

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