Geriatric Drivers

To give me the best opportunity to learn how to be an effective driver my parents had me learn from a multitude of family members in addition to the obligatory drivers ED in high school. Later on as an adult to maintain lower insurance premiums I took a severe weather drivers and just because it was made available to me a defensive/assault drivers course. All of this was in an effort to maximize my driving skills. I know I have yet to touch on what my title is talking about, but just stay with me.

One of the best pieces of advice ever given to me is to assume everyone else on the road has only just recently got their license. Basically, make sure you are paying attention at all times and keep your head on a swivel.

Even with the large vehicle that I drive and the safety reinforcements I had installed in it I can never be certain of the other guy. I have had a few too many close calls over the years. I would say that maybe 2 to 3 situations were my fault for not paying attention, but the majority have been other drivers not paying attention and/or having shitty reaction times.

A majority of the close calls have been with senior drivers behind the wheel. I realize that driving is the last bastion of freedom for a lot of older folks, but when your eyesight and fine motor skills start to become compromised its time to start thinking about giving up the license. I am aware that a persons doctor can deem them a road hazard due to health conditions they may be experiencing and restrict or revoke their driving privileges through the DMV. I can site 2 instances of this happening with people I know, but in both instances they were both young people at the time dealing with temporary health issues. It baffles me that their physicians were quick to revoke their licenses in both instances, but when its comes to geriatric patients its like a no fly zone over Pakistan.

When it is clear as day that they have diminished eye sight and slowed motor functions and do nothing I fail to see how this makes sense.. I see it everyday with patients that can barely walk and that’s with the assistance of a walker, have difficulty fishing their card out of their wallet  due to motor function issues, or eye site so poor that they have both enlarged checks and coke bottle lenses in their glasses.

I’m sure at some point I’ll be pointed to an example of bring ageist, but honestly I don’t give a shit. Insurance companies recognize the problem and charge a higher premium based on it.

Of my grandparents that had drivers licenses recognized their diminished ability to see and react quickly and restricted their own driving habits without their family having to have that uncomfortable talk with them at the doctors. I’m sure there are others out there like them, but from my perspective there aren’t enough.


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