Tuesday, March 13, 2007

old drivers

This morning when walking through a shopping center car park on my way to work a grannie came fairly close to squashing me. She accellerated her Mazda 323 backwards as hard as possible and hit a purple Magna. The back ends of both cars were seriously damaged, and the Mazda (which received the worst damage) was possibly a write-off (it doesn't take that much damage to make an old car an insurance write-off). The damage was surprising given that there was only about 4 meters between the cars before the crash, the roar of the engine however did indicate that full accelleration was being used. The area between the vehicles was where I had just walked a few seconds earlier...

I phoned the police and waited until they arrived. They might end up forcing her to have a driving test, but it's most unlikely that she will lose her license. One of my relatives passed such a test more than 10 years after I refused to ever be a passenger in his car.

What is needed is periodic testing of all drivers with the same standards as used for initially getting a drivers license (currently the standards are much lower). I would probably have to practice my parallel parking before such a test (it's something I hardly ever do) but I expect that I wouldn't have any difficulty in passing - as would all good drivers.


Patrick said...

In the US (not sure about other countries), the aged voters' lobby has a lot of power. I doubt we'd ever see a reduction of aged voters' mobility.

With the DARPA robotic car challenges, we may see commercially available carbot mobility. Perhaps then the driver's exam could be made rigorous.

Objections voiced would probably look like: Carbots Too Expensive, or Grandparents Scared Of Carbots. We'll see how this shakes out.

Anonymous said...

In Denmark, your license, when you receive it is valid until your 70-year birthday. After that, you need to get it extended every n years (not sure how often). I believe this is done by your GP/FP (which you're also required to visit before getting the license in the first place).

This seems pretty sane to me.

etbe said...

In regard to the Denmark command, that is sane for people who are in good physical and mental condition at the age of 70. However many people deteriorate long before that.

I recently started wearing glasses at age 34 because my vision had decreased significantly. My doctor and opthalmologist both advised against glasses because my vision is only slightly below average for my age. However it's significantly less than what it used to be and I wanted to see better.

I am sure that my physical condition will decrease in many other ways that limit my driving ability before the age of 70.