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Who should take the keys from seniors when skills diminish? Part 2

In our last post, we talked about the difficulty in determining if and when seniors should lose their driving privileges when their abilities deteriorate. As seniors get older, their reaction times and eyesight diminish, increasing the chances of causing serious or fatal car accidents.

Currently, only 28 states have driving restrictions for seniors. Some states begin increased testing on drivers as young as 65, while others don't start until drivers are 80. Some states require that seniors over the age of 80 renew their licenses in person every six years; other states still allow seniors to renew their licenses by mail or email.

Most people in Louisiana agree that there should be driving restrictions. However, pinpointing the right age and the timing of those restrictions is difficult.

Adding to the confusion are statistics that suggest seniors are "some of the least dangerous" drivers on the road. Because many seniors are aware of their limitations, they're typically less likely to speed, and many older drivers avoid driving during rush hour or after dark. Seniors almost always wear their seatbelts, and they rarely drive under the influence of alcohol.

Because of those factors, drivers between the ages of 65 and 69 have the same fatal crash rate as drivers in their thirties. It isn't until drivers are 85 or older that they overtake teenagers as the age group that is involved in the most fatal car accidents.

Most people have agreed that there is a need for driving limitations or increased testing for seniors. However, until there are more consistent rulings, it will be difficult to ensure that seniors are not endangering other drivers on the road.

Source: Fox News, "Diminished motor skills: 'Silver tsunami' of elderly drivers prompts tough decisions," Joshua Rhett Miller, April 16, 2012

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