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Young At Heart

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

Young At Heart

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
January 5, 2014


Older Driver
They say there are three things in life that you can’t do anything about: paying taxes, getting older and one other. Can’t quite remember what the last one is…ah! The possibility of memory loss, yes, that’s it.

Nobody can help getting older but that’s no reason to start getting old. It is possible, given good luck and a following wind, to carry on driving well into the latter years, and one million Britons have now proved it by continuing to drive over the age of 80. Better still, it is believed that by 2017, there will be over eighty thousand drivers aged ninety still putting the pedal to the metal. Well done to those who make it.

And the good news keeps on coming. Just because drivers over seventy may be a little slower of the mark doesn’t mean that they are more likely to cause, or be in, accidents. This is proven to not be so. Elderly drivers are as safe as anyone else and considerably more experienced than many. Certainly more so than those whippersnapper kids who’ve just passed their test. It begs the question as to why some insurance companies would prefer not to insure old people.

Of course, there has to be a fly in the ointment. Anyone over the age of 70 has to renew their licence every three years. There is no longer any good reason for this. People are generally healthier and more long-lasting than ever and it begins to seem like a bit of a ruse to claw back some of that pension cash.

There has been talk of compulsory re-testing for the aged ones. This seems unfair. What would be fair - and most old folk would be inclined to agree - would be the opportunity to undertake a non-compulsory assessment voluntarily. The reason is this. Venerable drivers know how they feel physically. They are sensible enough to realise that some aspects of their lives reach an inevitable conclusion at some point. Sad but true.

It follows that most oldsters will know when their time to stop driving has arrived. As ever and in all walks of life, there will always be the usual pig-headed exceptions, but, in general, folk know when the game is up.

There has been a call to get the government to come up with a strategy that covers the driving fitness of the old-timers. This would involve the medical profession giving an opinion and a driving assessment to try to eliminate bad habits and the like. That seems to have faded away for now. There has been some talk of teaching the elderly about today’s traffic issues but that is plain daft. These people grew up and proceeded through their driving lives keeping pace with modern traffic. To say they don’t understand it is an insult, frankly.

So attention all you mouldering motorists out there. Keep on trucking. You’ll know when it is time to quit.



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