Goal: To Create Restrictions against Elderly Drivers
First Blog Post

Elderly drivers have been a problem in society ever since the advent of motor vehicles. As a person gets older, their vision, hearing, and almost every other sense begin to deteriorate. Motor vehicles are amazing feats of engineering, but they must be operated by people who can PHYSICALLY operate them. Yes, the elderly person in question may have passed their drivers test 70 YEARS ago, but that does not mean at all that they could still pass it today. Elderly people feel that it is still their right to drive because it provides them the freedom they feel they are losing with age. Yes, this is all fine and dandy, but when this small act of “freedom” can lead to the death of someone else, many complications arise. I personally do not know anyone personally who has died or been in an accident involving an elderly drivers but the stories are a dime a dozen. They “didn’t see that the light was red”, or much more popularly, “they mistook the gas for the brake”; if you are mistaking the gas and the break you should NOT be driving! It doesn’t matter how old you are 28 or 88 there needs to be more tests and restrictions put in place against bad drivers, especially the elderly. When it comes to the elderly and driving, it seems like more of a taboo subject to talk about because nobody wants to disrespect the old people and take away their “freedom”. How is it freedom if it is putting everybody else in danger? It just seems stupid that somebody who can barely walk is allowed to get behind a motor vehicle and DRIVE it, in PUBLIC. Either way, this blog is going to act as my vent for anger about this topic as well as anything interesting I am going to find about it.


elderly-driving.jpg




Second Blog Post

Here’s a good story for anyone reading this right now. Apparently, on February 11th 2009, an elderly man by the name of Russell Weller drove his car at over 60 mph, yes freeway speeds, head on and straight through a crowded farmer’s market in Santa Monica, California (article source below). This tragedy took the lives of nine innocent people and critically injured fifteen. Now if this doesn’t piss you off I don’t know what would. Among those who were killed was an three-year old girl. “"I looked at her eyes. Her eyes were just glazed. I knew she wasn't there" said one of the Vendors Collin Kidwell, who tried to resuscitate the little girl. This is a budding human life that was taken abruptly and unjustly by a man who is already so far into the grave he can’t even drive. It is completely irrational that Weller is even allowed behind the wheel; he requires the use of a cane to walk and even so he still requires “assistance”. But here’s the kicker for the whole situation; Weller didn’t even spend a single night in jail. Not ONE night. He took the lives of eight innocent bystanders, instantly (one, a 50 year-old man, died later from his wounds at a nearby hospital). A man who took the lives of NINE people doesn’t even spend on single night in jail. This poses a majorly fundamental problem with our current policies. He killed nine innocent people and critically wounded 15, yet he doesn’t even spend a night in jail just because of his age. I don’t care if you are 18 or 80 if you kill someone, you deserve to be in jail for the rest of your life; but that’s just my opinion. In the end, Weller was charged with nine counts of vehicular manslaughter, a felonious rack of charges that would typically land LIFE in prison. With all these charges, he was let off with 5 years of probation. I can’t even tell you how unjust this is. A life is irreplaceable; it’s the greatest gift on this earth, yet somebody who is too goddamn stubborn to give up driving goes and takes it away from 3 men, 4 women, and 1 child. Can you imagine the absolute heartbreak experienced by the families of those who died, the PARENTS of that little three-year old girl? Can you imagine looking on in horror as innocent people are “up on the car, hit[ting] the windshield, [going] over the top [of the car]"?

So I ask you this. Do you think his ruling was “fair”? Should he just be on probation or should he have been spending the rest of his life in a state prison? Text 105334 and your thoughts to 22333 and let me know what you think.



"9 Dead In Street Market Horror." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-563733.html>.



mn_marketlead01.jpg







Third Blog Post





In response to my previous blog post, I was very motivated to find some statistics of just how much of impact elderly drivers are having on the safety of the rest of the population. I also wanted to see what kinds of precautions were being made across the country to help ensure that elderly drivers do not cause such horrific accidents as referenced above. A few of the most striking facts that I found are as follow:



  • On the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old
  • Elderly drivers account for 18% of ALL pedestrian fatalities
  • Drivers over 75 are far more likely than other motorists to be cited for certain offenses, including failing to yield to pedestrians, backing up unsafely and failing to stop at a flashing red light.
  • 28 percent of crash-involved older drivers were turning left when they were struck-- 7 times more often than younger drivers were struck while making left turns.

Now, as stated earlier, these facts are rather eye-opening. In reference to the last fact that I stated, elderly drivers are SEVEN times more likely to be struck while making left turns. They are NOT checking their blind spots and not checking to see for oncoming traffic, resulting in accidents that would have most likely never happened with a younger more agile driver. These are number that simply cannot be ignored; older drivers are in fact more dangerous than younger drivers. Now, what is being done? That is a whole different question and thankfully there are some good precautions set forth in certain states to help prevent these types of accidents from occurring.



  • In California, drivers over 70 are required to retest if they are involved in two or more crashes in one year.
  • In Pennsylvania, physicians are required to report patients with disabilities that may affect their driving skills.

Sadly, these are really the only precautions currently set forth. “Why aren’t there more?” You may ask. Well, the AARP and other elderly lobbyist group have thwarted attempts for more severe precautions in those states as well as others by stating that “chronological age is not an accurate predictor of driving skill”. What? Well maybe the fact that your brain is turning to mush with the onset of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other age related illnesses IS an accurate predictor.

Source:
"Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel." Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/older-drivers-elderly-driving-seniors-at-the-wheel.html>.

487169555_cc0d23b02e_o.jpg








Fourth Blog Post


If you read my previous blog post (which I highly suggest you do), you will see that I decided to go off on a rant about some elderly driver statistics as well as some laws that are helping prevent their horrendous driving incidents. Hopefully you were as dismayed as I was when I found that only two states within our ENTIRE country have laws to help prevent dangerous elderly drivers. The AARP and other elderly lobbyist groups claim discrimination therefore thwarting other attempts to help try to eradicate the issues, but the facts are CLEARLY there. You can’t just look at the facts gathered about the dangers of elderly drivers and say “oh yeah there’s absolutely NO pattern there”. Yes, we can complain about it all that we want but the only way we can make a change is to finally come up with some changes on our own. Here is a neat little list of things we SHOULD be doing to prevent this non-sense:
  • Deficit Screening – Screening should be given to drivers who are experiencing age-related decline in terms of driving ability. This can be done by healthcare professionals who work with those in the elderly community or simply done at the DMV. The tests would be quick and simply say if you are eligible or if you require further testing.
  • Crash Statistics – The DMV as well as insurance companies should put more research into identifying crash patterns within the older population. This can help to prevent further incidents with the same drivers and it can help to identify elderly drivers who have extreme risk of getting into an accident.

So, what ideas do you have to help prevent elderly drivers behind the wheel causing accidents? What ideas do you have for laws and procedures that could help prevent elderly drivers who are at risk from even getting their licenses renewed? Let me know by texting 152157 and your ideas to 22333.


"Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel." Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/older-drivers-elderly-driving-seniors-at-the-wheel.html>.



Fifth Blog Post



I’ve got a rather interesting article for my readers out there today. The news comes from New Castle University, where teams of researchers are developing “augmented reality” glasses to help old people retain their independence (for driving). Basically, they are creating a set of glasses that the elderly can where while they are driving that provides numerous enhancements to help them drive better. It monitors their eye movement to help detect stress levels, it warns when their speed is too high or too low compared to the set speed limit, it maps out the safest routes (avoiding as many right turns as possible), and it takes in many environmental factors to determine if they are lost or not. Interesting, I wonder if it notifies the police when they accidently drive their car through a gas-station. Well, we have to look at this through a critical lens.

Yes, this advancement in technology will certainly be beneficial to the elderly community as well as anyone else who draws the short sticks and ends up being on the road at the same time as them. It will make them better, more aware drivers, right? Well, wrong. An elderly person is still deteriorated as much as they were before putting the glasses on. The glasses will be aware, yes. They will take in as much data as possible and portray it to the user but the user (the elderly person) will simply be confused by this. If they can’t take in the data though their senses normally, what makes anyone think they could process it differently if it were repackaged? Simply put, yes the glasses will work, no the elderly people will not benefit.

Think of it this way, you’ve got a car that you drive. That engine in the car though is old and it’s not working right anymore; the valves are ticking and it doesn’t start half the time. You decide to put a cold air intake on it with the hopes it will make the car run better. This is just like the elderly driving glasses; it is taking in the same air that the car has always been taking in, but “improving” the airflow. The car, however, still processes it the same as it did before.

_59775154_drivelab464.jpg



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17785033



Sixth Blog Post



I’ve got another great article for you to read. I found a rather long news editorial published by the Washington Post about how the dangers of elderly drivers will only increase in the future. This is due to the fact that the baby boomer generation is aging, and we are going to have an unprecedented amount of elderly drivers on the road. According to a study, about 5% of elderly drivers over 75 have dementia, and they drive until that disease is advanced. How is that NOT the equivalent of driving under the influence? I just find it completely ridiculous that we put all these precautions forward to prevent drunk driving but we’ve got these old people driving around on all kind of medications; they might as well be drunk! I’m not saying that precautions against drunk driving are unjust, I’m just saying that whoever thinks elderly drivers aren’t dangerous are lying to themselves.



This must be look at relatively though. There are some drivers who are in their 90’s that are perfectly good drivers, but there are some in their 60’s who are horrible drivers, it all depends on how fast their health is deteriorating. It isn’t so much a concern of age, but the concern of what comes inevitably through age. This is why we need to push driver retesting to help weed out those who aren’t fit anymore to drive.

As always, let me know what you think. Text

143036 and your opinion in to 22333.


PH2010080904194.jpg

Washington Post. The Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/09/AR2010080904193_2.html?sid=ST2010080905283>.