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Elderly Drivers in California Essay

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Updated: Jun 26th, 2020

Regulating elder drivers in California is an interesting topic for discussion. The public has been extremely concerned about this issue over the last few years. The biggest problem that needs to be addressed is that aging has a significant impact on driving abilities. Current California laws are in need of an improvement because it is evident that some of the senior should not be allowed to operate vehicles because they are not safe on the road.

This issue is discussed in one of the articles, and the author believes that elderly driving needs to be regulated because current policies are not sufficient (Martelle par. 10). The biggest problem is that organizations that deal with this subject matter do not properly educate the citizens about possible dangers and safety measures that should be taken. Information that is available on the websites is not enough to make sure that senior citizens have a complete understanding of their driving capabilities (Rapoport et al. 292).

It is viewed as an enormous problem because statistics indicate that 5,671 seniors have died because of car accidents, and 222,000 individuals were severely injured in 2013 (“Older Drivers.” par. 1). The fact that California requires citizens that are 80 years and older to take additional tests is paramount because the number of accidents drastically rises among individuals in this age group compared to others according to statistics (“Older Drivers.” par. 4).

Vision assessment is one of the most important ones, and only ten states currently view it as necessary when one wants to renew the driver license. One of the problems is that the accident rates in the states that do not require such evaluation are higher, and they are 1,5 fatal crashes per 100,000 senior drivers (“Older Drivers.” par. 10). However, it is necessary to note that the number of accidents has reduced dramatically in recent years because the government has acknowledged that this problem needs to be addressed and has introduced numerous policies.

The law of California addresses some of the issues that are associated with elderly driving. The fact that there is a process known as reexamination is also essential because it allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to evaluate if an individual that suffers from a particular medical condition is safe on the road (“Elderly Drivers and the California DMV” par. 5). The laws are especially strict towards individuals who are 70 and older in the state, and it may not be an easy task to pass some of the necessary tests. It is also paramount to note that in-person renewal is a requirement because it is the only way to evaluate driving skills.

Certain restrictions may also be considered to make sure that the senior avoids situations on the road that are likely to be dangerous if the results of testing are questionable. Health care providers also must make reports if there is a suspicion that a senior may suffer from a condition that may affect driving capabilities. California Department of Motor Vehicles also provides a range of services that may be necessary for older adults, and all the information regarding safe driving and driver license is also listed on the website.

There are several reasons why current policies should be stricter, and they should be discussed. It needs to be said that one of the studies has focused on the ability of elder drivers to recognize hazards, and the results show that that there is definitely a delay in perception that is common among most senior citizens. Some of them were not able to identify some of the dangerous situations at all, and this fact should not be disregarded (Scialfa et al. 230).

Another issue that needs to be discussed is that it is known that medications often have an enormous influence on the ability of an individual to drive (Edwards 8). The problem is that some drugs make seniors sleepy and the reaction time is affected as a result. It is also paramount to say that several medications are often prescribed at once, and it is extremely hard to consider all the interactions and side effects that may occur. It is imperative to note that a significant number of mental and physical issues are not reported, and it is a major problem that must be taken into account. It needs to be said that it is understandable that the process of testing may be complicated and stressful for an individual, but it is a necessary measure.

However, it is necessary to understand that driving is an essential part of everyday lives of senior citizens. It also needs to be noted that most of them are much safer on the road than younger people because they are careful with their decision-making and are not involved in reckless driving or drugs and alcohol abuse. There are also training programs that were developed specially for senior drivers that teach them how to deal with particular situations in the traffic, and how to react in certain circumstances.

However, it is necessary to say that the risks of development of complications that are associated with car crashes are far greater among older drivers because of their fragility. The fatality rates are also quite significant. This fact is currently not taken into account, and automobile safety measures are not enough to guarantee that an elder driver is not injured during an accident. Nevertheless, a balance needs to be found because the security of citizens is of utmost importance.

In conclusion, it is hard to argue with the fact that the laws in California regarding elder drivers are far more advanced than in most states. However, the improvement may be necessary because it can be seen that numerous accidents that involve seniors still happen quite often. Some essential facts are not taken into consideration during the tests that older adults have to take, and it needs to be regulated. It is also imperative to say that the number of senior drivers is expected to grow in the next few years, and this must not be disregarded.

Most individuals age differently and it is nearly impossible to evaluate all the aspects that are associated with driving, but it can be seen that people in a particular age group are more likely to be involved in a car crash. It is entirely possible that some of the new technologies that are introduced may be used to monitor elderly drivers and improve the safety of vehicles. Overall, it is necessary to make sure that the rules are much stricter because most of such accidents can be prevented if the government addresses this issue.

Works Cited

Edwards, Sue. “Dilemma of Keeping Older Drivers Safe.” Nursing Older People 24.7 (2012): 8. Web.

SCLG. n.d. Web.

Martelle, Scott. “L.A. Times. 2015. Web.

ISI. n.d. Web.

Rapoport, Mark J., et al. “The Relationship between Cognitive Performance, Perceptions of Driving Comfort and Abilities, and Self-reported Driving Restrictions among Healthy Older Drivers.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 61 (2013): 288-295. Web.

Scialfa, Charles T., et al. “Hazard Perception in Older Drivers.” International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics 1.3 (2012): 221-233. Web.

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