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Mandated Driving and Skills Tests for Elderly

7598 Views 39 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  captainwhoopass
OMG! First Post...

Sure under 24 yr old males may be more crash-prone, but if a young male had plowed his vehicle through a crowded market, do you think there would be any leniency in his treatment by the police and general public? I think not. Involuntary manslaughter or some such charge would definately be brought against him.

Why do the elderly get special treatment? The way I see it, taking control of a vehicle is accepting the responsibilities of your actions. If you have a history of epilepsy, have vision imparements--or you find yourself crashing into the back of your garage (like the 86yr old) you can't take the stance that killing someone with your vehicle was NOT your fault. Ooops, sorry Mrs. Doe I didn't mean to kill your daughter, I'm just old.

Why are so many problems in todays society related to people who believe in freedom of choice, but never accept responsibility for the result of their actions?


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Re: costs of non-helmet use

Well, since the people previously referred to as "retards" are now safely and tongue-twistingly labeled as "developmentally disabled", allow me to re-purpose the coarse yet illuminating term. But first let me tell a story.

I've racked up 29,000 miles on the two-wheeled odometer in the last 12 months alone. Partly because I love to do it, and partly because half of that time has been spent on the unemployment line.

During that time I've been off the saddle once, but "nearly killed" six times. Three of those near death experiences came as a result of another person's illegal and incredibly stupid driving/riding decisions.

Of the three, the last was the only one I was unable to avoid, and it cost me my bike and, for a while here, my health.

Yes, those three people who drove and rode like morons are dumb, but the other three occurrences came as a result of an even dumber living being. Yes, deer. The last incident had an adult doe, completely hidden in the roadside brush, jumping out in front of me while I was going 60mph, with oncoming traffic. Instead of T-boning the hooved animal, however, she stopped short and whacked her head, mightily, against the unprotected portion of my leg, between the knee padding of my riding pants and the upper calf armor of my A-stars boot. Now that hurt like nothing I've ever felt in my life, believe me.

But that's not the point of this exercise, just supporting commentary. The point is, invariably at some point people who ride motorcycles will have an "incident" that will or could see them separated from their bike and quickly introduced to a hard surface. This is not high science, it's common sense. Something anyone with even negligible intelligence can see.

People who ride their motorcycles on the highways and who do not use appropriate safety gear are in my opinion very slow learners. They see that the machine on which they ride offers no protection from a fall. They know how fast they will travel at highway speeds. And they know how hard, abrasive, and unforgiving asphalt, concrete, ARMCO, trees, signs, and tractor-trailers are. Yet they decide to ride in a T-shirt and jeans w/ no helmet, gloves, etc.

In my opinion these people exemplify a group that should be referred to as the "new retard", someone who sees the danger, has the ability to mitigate the danger, yet in the end decides that they will not benefit from safety gear.

To me the only thing that's worse than the "new retard" is the "new retard" who convinces another human to do the same thing.
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You forgot mandatory helmet use for pedestrians. Just think "how many lives would have been saved" if all of the people mowed down by that old codger had been "properly attired," Call your congressman now! VWW
I've been through this one with elderly relatives and will be doing it again with wife's parents shortly -and my own parents soon enough. Warning - it is agonizing to do..even when it is the right thing.

One report I heard mentioned that the Santa Monica geezer thought he had the brakes on. Remember the Audi "unintended acceleration" crap pushed by CBS? That particular "brainfart" may not be all that rare. BTW, there was and is NO SUCH THING as unintended acceleration. Any properly functioning brake system can stop any auto (or bike) even if full power is being applied. What is real is that folks just flat don't hit the right pedal and get confused.

Being middle aged sucks. Now instead of having my keys confiscated by my parents, I've got to confiscate my parents keys (soon). Believe me, you won't enjoy it, but it is the right thing to do.

Good luck to any and all MOrons who are facing this one

Adjusted Statistics

When miles travelled are taken into account, the elderly are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents than ANY other group. Of course, every other group also has both a defined bottom and top age, while the elderly do not.

Reflexes, hearing, and vision all decline with age - scientific fact. At some point, you simply cannot competently control a motor vehicle, and should be off the road. Your "right" to drive ends at the boundaries of my property; you do not have the "right" to place anyone else at increased risk by being on the road.

Ah, the AARP - a proud tradition of fighting for the rights of the elderly to kill everyone else...
Very funny

I still have a scar on the top of my head from a dodge ball accident in '74. I don't think that game is allowed in elementary school anymore. To violent.

No lawsuit. No blame on the kid that threw the ball. It was a game and we were playing. I had blood flowing down my face, took five stitches and it hurt like he!! but I'm fine now. I'm fine now. I'm fine now. I'm fi...
If you're worried about your money, you should be campaigning against AARP and its blue-haired constituents. Spending on old people (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the new perscription drug crap, endless other programs) is the single largest expenditure of federal government funds. They have made scaring old people and vote-buying a cottage industry.

All this despite the fact that the elderly are easily the wealthiest demographic and the vast majority of them DO HAVE health insurance.
Re: costs of non-helmet use

"To me the only thing that's worse than the "new retard" is the "new retard" who convinces another human to do the same thing."

You mean ABATE?

I have been meaning to ask you this. What does the VWW stand for?

The letters VWW are my initials. Apparently my folks figured that if I was born retarded (oops, make that mentally impared) I at least would be able to scrawl out those easily written letters. VWW
I don't think the treatment of the 24 year old and 86 year old are that much different. Stories of strong legal action taken against the 24 year olds in traffice accidents are more common than for the 86 year old because a much greater number of them are due to intentionally dangerous driving. This accident does not appear to be result of intentional, poor driving.

The other comment before mine has brought up a valid point to consider - why aren't all driver's tested periodically? Private pilots must take a flight review every two years. It's not a test, but an opportunity to have your flying skills and habits reviewed by someone of recognized skill (a flying instructor).

The level of skill we require of drivers is laffable compared to that required of private pilots, yet the potential for harming others because your driving mistakes is much greater than for a pilot as a result of his flying mistakes.

My .02.

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Your point about reaction and judgement are good, but your proposal for testing based on reaction time misses this point.

Licensing based solely on reaction time would leave us with a population drivers akin to Play Station players - real fast but a lot of explosions. Driving/riding skill is made of many components, including both reaction and skill. I would much rather be riding with a slower reacting driver whose judgement caused him to drive in accordance with his capabilities. Think about it, this is analogous to driving/riding at a speed that suits the situation.

Driving/riding is a complex set of skills and a test, whether it be for your first license or umpteenth renewal, needs to comprehensively test these skills to be useful.

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Re: costs of non-helmet use

Yeah, well, oddly enough, I'm steadfastly in favor of wearing head-to-toe gear when riding, but just as steadfast against the govt telling me I have to.

I just don't ride with folks who won't gear up. You know, social pressure rather than SWAT team pressure.
The "Audios" fiasco?

Yeah, I remember that one. I also have an 81 -year-old mother and an 87-year-old uncle who still drive. It bothers me a lot, and I'm not looking forward to confronting them about it.
My Dad had a severe stroke twenty years ago. He was half-paralyzed. The stroke also wrecked his short term memory, so he couldn't tell you it was Thanksgiving Day but he could tell you al his stories about being in the Air Corps in WWII.

Even though he was unable to move the left side of his body, if you left him in the front seat of the Lincoln unwatched he would push himself over behind the wheel and try to drive the car. He actually got it started once and got it in reverse and ran into a retaining wall.

So we took his keys away. We also had to make sure he didn't steal someone else's keys, or take and hide the spare set because he would still yell at us for not letting him drive. He said all along that he could drive perfectly well and would get really mad at us for not letting him. Even though he was paralyzed and incompetent.

It is hard, but it must be done. Otherwise the consequences to others can be disastrous.
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Although the tragedy in Santa Monica involves an elderly person the solution is outside the hallowed halls of the AARP. The problems, as I see them, are threefold:

(1) Driving a motor vehicle is a regulated privelege, but is practically viewed and administered as a right. People are not required to have an adequate knowledge of the law nor solid practical skills. In CA the passing score is 70%, and the written test consists of only 20 or 30 questions.

(2) Regular, periodic skills training and assessment are not required. I've held a CA license for 24yrs and was road tested only at my 1979 application. The successful completion of the written test has nothing to do with the ability to ride a bike or drive a car.

(3) There is no graduated licensing system which only allows people to drive/ride vehicles for which they have proper training. The flying analogy is that a Piper Cub pilot could never get directly into the pilot's seat of a commercial jet just because he can fly a prop plane.

The upshot of all of the above is that the processes of obtaining and retaining one's drivers license are just too easy. Until, and unless, we make it more rigorous we will always have Santa Monicas and the root cause will have little to do with age.
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Re: costs of non-helmet use

We are in 100% agreement.

I do believe that people should be given the right to choose (where have I heard that before?) to wear a helmet or not. ABATE just peeves me because they spread false information in their quest to convince people NOT to wear helmets.
Yes, I agree 100%. Make renewal of licences a more rigorous process for everyone. By doing this the accusations of "ageism" would be eliminated.. If a driver cannot pass basic vision and reflex tests they simply should not be driving - regardless of their age.

Is this such a hard concept to grasp?
Can't wait to stand in line at the DMV for my more rigorous renewal. Nothing like standing in line for hours only to realize you're in the wrong line. That part being my fault aside, it's really the happy disposition of super dike behind the counter that would make multiple trips to the DMV worthwhile. Taking a vacation day to accomplish this "rigorous process" only stretches my smile further from ear to ear. See ya outside the DMV!!!!...we would be outside...see...longer line...out the door...yeah, great...
It most certainly IS due to intentional poor driving. The old man chose to drive when he clearly was not capable of making clear, correct decisions about how to control his vehicle. That is poor driving, and it was intentional. No different than a 24-year-old speeding down a residential street.
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