Should Older People Stop Driving?

Should elderly people be prohibited from driving? This question has been asked recently because an 88-year-old woman died after crashing her car on the east side of Detroit. The car crashed into a fence. The woman was found more than eight hours later, on the ground and on the outside of her car.

Related: Who Pays My Medical Bills After An Accident?

Are there age limits in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, there are no additional requirements or special provisions for older drivers. The state legislature even turned down a proposal that required drivers 80-years-old or older to get a doctor’s approval for license renewals. Also, other U.S. states have no additional requirements for older drivers. Alabama, for instance, decided not to recommend any changes, since young drivers cause far more accidents than older drivers.

What do experts say about older drivers?
Mark Hornbeck, spokesman for AARP Michigan, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, said that, Driving skills are more related to health than they are to age. There’s no magic age where everyone needs to give up their keys.” Hornbeck added that a lot of older drivers self-police themselves. This means that they avoid situations which tend to pose more problems for them.

I agree with Hornbeck. In a previous post, I stated that senior drivers have a tendency to limit their driving. For example, they limit night time driving or try not to drive in inclement weather. Our elderly drivers are less likely to engage in risky and aggressive activities that younger drivers might do. Elderly drivers tend to be in better health, both physically and mentally, than in previous years.

Related: Are Senior Citizens as Dangerous on the Road as We Think They Are?

When should a person begin to limit or stop driving?
Here’s the truth, while most of us want to continue driving for as long as we can, a time will come that we will have to stop. AARP lists warning signs that indicate when a person should begin to limit or stop driving. Some of those include:

  • Finding dents or scratches on the car, fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, etc.
  • Getting lost, especially in familiar locations.
  • Experiencing road rage.
  • Responding more slowly to unexpected situations.
  • Receiving multiple traffic tickets or warnings from law enforcement officers.

As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I am concerned with everyone’s safety on the road. However, is it fair to judge one’s driving skills based on age? I believe it rests with their ability. What do you think?

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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