Drivers play an important role in the transport industry across the world as they transport goods and move passengers from one place to another. However, due to increased cases of accidents, safety is becoming a paramount issue in the transport industry. Since drivers are liable for the occurrence of accidents, experts have identified age as a critical factor that determines competence among drivers.
Across the world, age is an important factor in driving because accidents that normally happen vary according to age of drivers. Hence, the essay discusses the relationships between age and driving. In this view, the essay presents the risks that the old and the young drivers pose the transport industry.
Moreover, the essay also elaborates factors that reduce driving competence among drivers in a society and recommend why the state should enact regulations to govern age limitations and privileges concerning driving. Essentially, the essay highlights the importance and relevance of age limitations in the management and control of car accidents.
Driving is an important activity in the transport industry because it promotes movement of goods and people from one destination to another. To drivers, driving gives them some form of independence and liberty as they have the capacity to control motor vehicles. In the past decade, the number of accidents in the transport industry has increased exponentially, and experts have attributed to careless driving.
Dobbs, Dobbs, and Triscott (2010) state that “although many older drivers are safe drivers, in the past 20 years crash rates have increased by 50% for senior drivers, but decreased by 10% percent for drivers under the age of 65” (p. 26). Thus, the increase in the level of accidents has forced the state to consider whether age is among the factors that have led to the increase in cases accidents. Therefore, the essay examines the reasons why the state should provide a limitation on driving privileges.
Driving requires an active mind as it needs undivided attention and care so that drivers can prevent or evade causing accidents or crashes. In addition, driving requires good health because illnesses tend to affect the attention of an individual; hence increasing the chances of accidents while driving. Therefore, unhealthy individuals are not good drivers for they have high chances of causing accidents.
Since a number health complications such as arthritis, visual and audio impairment, poor judgement, and memory lapses increase with age of an individual, the elderly drivers have higher frequencies of car accidents than young drivers do. According to Wood (2011), ageing has many health challenges such as impaired visual judgement as the image quality degrades and the level of retinal illumination reduces (p. 24). Hence, there is a need to assess driving competence of drivers basing on their ages.
Furthermore, ageing affects the level of accuracy and judgement especially hearing and visual abilities. Hearing and visual abilities of an individual determine mental judgement. Poor hearing and visual abilities predispose drivers to cause accidents because they decrease capacity of mental judgement. Taylor (2010) highlights that “safety does not depend so much on what is seen, but rather on how quickly and adequately drivers respond to what is seen” (p. 14).
The statement clearly elaborates the significance of good judgement and activeness of driver’s mind in minimizing the frequency of car accidents. Therefore, good visual and audio abilities are key requirements for any individual who intends to drive. The fact that age affects these important requirements makes it fundamental for the state, and other relevant authorities to employ age in limiting the provision of driving privileges.
Effects of Age in Driving
Many senior drivers do not realize that they are no longer effective on the road. Contrarily, they find themselves in scenarios that increase the frequency of accidents. As opposed to individuals below 50 years, elderly people are usually slow in making decisions. Hence, they respond slowly to instances that need quick and efficient responses.
Slow response affects and reduces the ability of the driver to manoeuvre as they make decisions slowly. Dobbs, Dobbs, and Triscott (2010) note that many senior drivers are involved in car accidents because of their health conditions, which decrease their skills of driving, but not due to the infrastructure (p. 23). Hence, to mitigate road accidents, it is essential to provide age limitations on driving privileges.
Furthermore, as people grow old, they progressively develop many health problems. These problems reduce their effectiveness in driving as they affect abilities of drivers to manoeuvre through busy roads and highways. Cognitive impairments, visual and audio problems, as well as arthritis, make the drivers vulnerable to accidents. Moreover, advanced health complications can lead to abuse of drugs such as sleeping pills and painkillers.
These drugs can sometimes overpower the driver and lead to crashes and accidents. According to Bryan, Dufouil, and Ahmed (2000), forgetfulness, memory lapses, visual and audio impairments, difficulty in comprehension of verbal and written forms of communication, and judgemental problems makes one unfit to drive (p. 706). Since many of these problems associate with the elderly drivers, the state should provide legislations that limit driving privileges among drivers according to their ages.
Importance of Age Limitation in Driving
Age limitation is one of the core components that can help in reducing the number of accidents. The state should enact laws that minimize road carnage. Among the rules and regulations is the provision of age limitation to the individuals driving on busy roads and highways.
The limitations should govern junior and senior members of the society. Young members of the society make quick irrational decisions, such as wrong turns, u-turns, and breaking traffic laws, which increase chances of accidents. Additionally, they may engage in activities such as drug and substance abuse.
According to Olsen, Shults, and Eaton (2013), the youth drivers are likely to cause accidents because they engage in drug abuse or use their cell phones while driving (p. 1712). Such behaviours greatly affect their driving skills and put them at a high risk of causing accidents. Therefore, the state should provide measures, which will limit driving privileges according to ages of individuals as a means of reducing accidents.
On the other hand, many elderly individuals are forgetful, have poor visual and hearing abilities, slow in making decisions, and suffer many health complications that render them poor drivers.
The poor visual and hearing abilities of the elderly drivers make them cause accidents, because they cannot see movement of other vehicles or users of the road clearly and cannot listen to warning sounds from other users of the road. According to Taylor (2010), good judgments is associated with hearing visual abilities and are very important for drivers especially when they are on highways or busy roads (p. 15).
Since many young and elderly people portray a number of challenges on the road related to irrational decisions and poor judgements, they are not fit to drive on many highways. Therefore, driving privileges should be limited to a certain age of individuals who are still active, energetic, and can make rational or sound decisions. In this view, government should enact legislations that apportion driving privileges according to the age of drivers.
Relevance of Age Limitation in Driving Privileges
Age limitation is a very important element in minimization and reduction of accidents associated with old and young individuals. Unfortunately, many junior and senior people do not realize that they are no longer fit to drive.
According to Roy and Lucille (2005), missing traffic signs, driving below the speed limit, difficulty in managing resources, and poor time management are some of the signs that drivers should note when driving in major highways (p. 9). Unfortunately, these signs appear gradually and so the drivers may not take them seriously, and thus, some drivers ignore them. Consequently, there is a need for the state to implement driving regulations strictly and define the age that is good for driving.
In addition, there are a number of factors other than age, which can cause accidents. Drug abuse is one the major factors that can lead to accidents. Abuse of drugs is highly prevalent among many youth. Drugs such heroin, cocaine, and alcohol affect mental judgement of the distance, and consequently increases drivers’ vulnerability to accidents.
Furthermore, the use of cell phones while driving is another aspect that has increased the number of accidents. Foss, Godwin, McCartt, and Hellinga (2009) state that cell phones divide attention of drivers, and therefore, interfere with the individual’s ability to make sound decisions (p. 430). Hence, drug and substance abuse, use of cell phones, and failure to wear seatbelts are some of the factors, which together with age increase the numbers of accidents.
Increasing cases of road accidents have compelled policy makers and governments to formulate legislations that guide drivers in the transport industry. Among other factors, age is a critical factor that determines competence of drivers. Since the old drivers are prone to irrational decisions, memory lapses, arthritis, and poor judgement due to impaired vision and hearing, they are not good drivers as they are more likely to cause accidents.
On contrast, young drivers are more likely to engage in behaviours such as drug abuse, and violate other traffic rules and so just like the elderly drivers of the society. Therefore, the state and other relevant authorities should enact regulations that limit driving privileges basing on age of an individual to minimise the number of accidents related to age.
Bryan, C., Dufouil, C., & Ahmed, A. (2000). Very old driver: findings from a population cohort of people aged 84 and over. International Journal of Epidemiology, 29(4), 704-707.
Dobbs, B., Dobbs, A., & Triscott, A. (2010). Safe Driving for Seniors: Knowing when it is Time to Quit. Journal of Family Health, 26(3), 23-25.
Foss, R., Godwin, A., McCartt, A., & Hellinga, L. (2009). Short-Term Effects of a Teenage Driver Cell Phone Restriction. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41(3), 419-424.
Olsen, E., Shults, R., & Eaton, D. (2013). Texting While Driving and Other Risky Motor Vehicle Behaviors among US High School Students. Pediatrics, 131(6), 1708-1715.
Roy, J., & Lucille, A. (2005). Driving License Eye Tests not Thorough Enough. USA Today, 133(2718), 9.
Taylor, S. (2010). Driving and Vision. The Optician, 240(6283), 14-17.
Wood, J. (2011). Driving and Vision. The Optician, 242(6316), 24-29