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Pressure mounts to test elder drivers(MA)
boston.com ^ | June 8, 2009 | Peter Schworm

Posted on 06/08/2009 5:49:31 AM PDT by GQuagmire

Pressure is building on state lawmakers to monitor elderly drivers more closely, renewing the heated, politically sensitive debate over whether seniors should have to prove their continued fitness to drive. Massachusetts, like many states, does not have testing for older drivers, other than universally administered eye tests. Advocates for the elderly have sharply opposed age-based oversight as discriminatory, and noted that the state prohibits age discrimination in licensing.

(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: caraccidents; olddrivers

1 posted on 06/08/2009 5:49:31 AM PDT by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire

And the 35 million member AARP goes wild!!!!!


2 posted on 06/08/2009 5:53:47 AM PDT by devane617 (Republicans first strategy should be taking over the MSM. Without it we are doomed.)
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To: GQuagmire

Testing for old drivers will never happen. They are too reliable of a voting bloc.


3 posted on 06/08/2009 5:57:24 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: pnh102

Then do away with the age discrimination, and retest everyone.


4 posted on 06/08/2009 6:10:13 AM PDT by gieriscm (07 FFL / 02 SOT - www.extremefirepower.com)
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To: GQuagmire
Advocates for the elderly have sharply opposed age-based oversight as discriminatory, and noted that the state prohibits age discrimination in licensing.

*Most* older drivers lack the vision and response time for driving int traffic. My Dad was one of them.

We tried to get his license revoked, and couldn't. His eye doctor said Dad's vision had deteriorated and that he'd have to send a letter to the state, but he never did.

His driving was so erratic, I can't even tell you how many fender scrapes he had, or curbs he hit. The damage would show up on his Outback, and he'd shrug and say "I don't know when that happened." or ask me what *I* did to his car.

My daughter and I moved in with him when he was 80 years old, soon after my mother passed away, because my other sisters would have put him in a nursing home: I drove him everywhere he wanted to go, and got him to all his doctor appointments, but he would sneak out as often as he could on his own.

It was his last semblance of independence (in his eyes- I could understand that much) but he had macular degeneration and funky blood sugar from his diabetes - and his mind wandered a lot.

In 2007, a month after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, he decided to "make the rounds", I knew he couldn't see, he was depressed, he didn't just care if anything happened to him anymore.

I went to the police department in my town, and had the Sgt at the desk put a "stop & hold" on him.. we called the state police in case he went farther afield, but luckily we found him a town away sitting in a diner flirting wit his favorite waitress.

I took his keys away, (including any spares) and he was SO angry. It hurt me to have the roles switched and have to be the hard-ass parent to him, but he was a danger to his own and other lives on the road. He said "I'm going to be dead in six months anyway."

The argument that finally got to him was: "It's bad enough you don't care if your own daughter has to go and identify you in a morgue - what about some other family or small children you hit because you can't see.. do they deserve that, because you don't care?"

His driver's license wasn't set to expire until 2008. Six months after he passed away. He wouldn't have even had to have another eye test, he could have had it renewed online if he knew that was an option.

The states have to do something about the older drivers, not just to protect them from themselves, but the other families out there that face a tragedy because they refuse to surrender their "rights" to drive as long as they have a valid license.
5 posted on 06/08/2009 6:14:41 AM PDT by Dominnae (Sorry, I cannot support the new president. I am way too busy supporting his freeloaders!!)
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To: GQuagmire

My grandfather gave up license in MA when he was 91.

But, in nearly 70 years of driving in the Bay State, he NEVER had an accident! Nothing. Zippo. Nada.

I couldn’t say that. I couldn’t even lie about it well.


6 posted on 06/08/2009 6:19:01 AM PDT by RexBeach ("Do your duty in all things." Robert E. Lee)
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To: Dominnae
The states have to do something about the older drivers, not just to protect them from themselves, but the other families out there that face a tragedy because they refuse to surrender their "rights" to drive as long as they have a valid license.

You're right, but here's the rub: taking away the licenses is the easy part. What happens after the licenses start being revoked? Who takes these folks to the docs, pharmecies, laundromat, grocery store, church? There aren't the programs in place to take care of the transpo needs of all the elderly people who'd suddenly become homebound. And it seems to me, anyway, that governments will have to plan on that aspect before they start revoking licenses on a broader scale.

In the short term, seems to me like insurance companies would have a role to play. And if states were to get rid of no-fault, I think that would help here as well.

7 posted on 06/08/2009 6:20:46 AM PDT by mewzilla (In politics the middle way is none at all. John Adams)
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To: Dominnae

I am so sorry that you had to go through that. It must have been heart-wrenching.

And I agree with you that there needs to be a process in place for our elderly drivers. I see nothing wrong with annual eye exams.

But then again, it would do no good for some, like my grandparents, who are ornery and cantankerous and would drive anyway!


8 posted on 06/08/2009 6:23:32 AM PDT by stentorian conservative (I'm tired of being Johnny B. Goode and I'm gonna start being Johnny Reb.)
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To: gieriscm

As the Mother of three (almost four) teenage drivers, I can get on board with that.


9 posted on 06/08/2009 6:29:36 AM PDT by stentorian conservative (I'm tired of being Johnny B. Goode and I'm gonna start being Johnny Reb.)
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To: GQuagmire

It is interesting but hardly ever brought up, during these conversations, that most accidents are caused by people under 25.


10 posted on 06/08/2009 6:34:11 AM PDT by svcw
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To: devane617

I’ll match my driving skills with any teenager you can find.


11 posted on 06/08/2009 6:34:13 AM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (THE SECOND AMENDMENT, A MATTER OF FACT, NOT A MATTER OF OPINION)
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To: Dominnae
The states have to do something about the older drivers

Only if they are wards of the state. Children and grandchildren should be the primary source of safety for elders.

12 posted on 06/08/2009 6:34:46 AM PDT by FatherofFive (Islam is an EVIL like no other, and must be ERADICATED. Barack OBORTION is a close second.)
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To: Dominnae

I am very sorry you had to go through this, but I do not believe it to be typical.


13 posted on 06/08/2009 6:38:31 AM PDT by svcw
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To: GQuagmire

I hear of by far more fatalities caused by illegal aliens on the nation’s roads than by the elderly.


14 posted on 06/08/2009 6:40:10 AM PDT by keepitreal (Obama brings change: an international crisis (terrorism) within 6 months)
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To: gieriscm
Then do away with the age discrimination, and retest everyone.

Not the world's worst idea. When my family moved from Indiana to Washington State in 1969, my folks had to be retested to get driver's licenses. And my dad, although in his early 40's and of sound health, hearing and vision, had accumulated enough bad habits to actually fail the test the first time. (Mom passed, and lords it over him occasionally to this day!)

While they're at it, rather than a blanket prohibition on cell phone usage, you could develop a test for people who are able to actually use one and drive intelligently, and separate out those (who for some stupid reason feel the need to look at the damned thing) who cannot. A mark on one's license plate would distinguish the two classes of driver.

15 posted on 06/08/2009 6:40:20 AM PDT by hunter112 (SHRUG - Stop Hussein's Radical Utopian Gameplan!)
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To: GQuagmire

I think they should retest everyone every 10 years.

It’s ridiculous to think that once you get your license at 16 years old, you’re set for life.

Too many traffic laws change, people move to other areas, changes in health...


16 posted on 06/08/2009 6:41:35 AM PDT by JenB987
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To: svcw
It is interesting but hardly ever brought up, during these conversations, that most accidents are caused by people under 25.

But is that because elderly drivers drive fewer miles?

On that question and this topic, from 2008 and Texas...

Crashes involving elderly drivers fall; year-old Katie's law may change

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows seniors drive fewer miles than people in other age groups and are involved in relatively lower rates of police-reported crashes per capita.

But older drivers are involved in a relatively high number of crashes per mile. What's more, seniors will probably account for one out of every four American drivers by 2030, a considerable jump from the current tally of about one in seven.

FWIW, graduated licensing is a good idea for teens, and I think it would also be a good idea for seniors.

17 posted on 06/08/2009 6:46:29 AM PDT by mewzilla (In politics the middle way is none at all. John Adams)
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To: GQuagmire

It’ll never happen.Not here,at least.Seniors vote.And they vote RAT.And Massachusetts RAT office holders have to be dragged out of their offices feet first.And that’s *exactly* the way they want it.


18 posted on 06/08/2009 7:07:24 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Christian+Veteran=Terrorist)
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To: hunter112
(Mom passed, and lords it over him occasionally to this day!)

Moms are like elephants; they never forget.

19 posted on 06/08/2009 7:09:36 AM PDT by ex91B10 (The only response now is mass resistance.)
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*


20 posted on 06/08/2009 7:15:11 AM PDT by TornadoAlley3 (Obama is everything Oklahoma is not.)
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To: GQuagmire

Mass. wants to check your eyes and mental faculties once every 5 years after age 85? Why bother?


21 posted on 06/08/2009 7:16:25 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Gitmo detainees to Alcatraz!)
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To: hunter112

Well while you’re at it, have a DUI test as well.


22 posted on 06/08/2009 7:19:26 AM PDT by stentorian conservative (I'm tired of being Johnny B. Goode and I'm gonna start being Johnny Reb.)
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To: GQuagmire
Every now and then, a story will turn up on the local news (no matter where you live) about an elderly driver who drove their car onto the sidewalk and into a store front. Invariably, the driver gives the same explanation: “the accelerator got stuck.” It's funny how the accelerator never gets stuck on younger drivers.
23 posted on 06/08/2009 7:28:16 AM PDT by GreenHornet
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To: GQuagmire

Yes, it’s a good idea to test these people, but it’s not just the elderly that are inept.

What about all these cell phone yakkers? If they insist on driving with one hand while they yack, why aren’t THEY subjected to a competency test, to see whether they can actually hold a phone and drive at the same time?


24 posted on 06/08/2009 7:41:42 AM PDT by Joann37
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To: Dominnae

My mom was the same way, and I felt as you did. Even if she didn’t hurt herself, what about others that may be in her way?


25 posted on 06/08/2009 7:47:32 AM PDT by Joann37
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I see your points, all - and I realize it’s easier to say “something has to be done” than to actually implement it, and I do realize not all older drivers present the same liabilities as others do.

I guess I should know better than to think these folks have families who are willing to make sure they’re cared for (docs, church, social visits, etc) A lot of towns here in western MA have senior programs that will give people rides, but the more rural folks would be stuck, for sure.

I guess my perspective comes from that of the elderly drivers who present a more immediate danger: a couple accidents my Dad had, he just told the cops “The sun was in his eyes” and there was no further follow-up..


26 posted on 06/08/2009 7:59:05 AM PDT by Dominnae (Sorry, I cannot support the new president. I am way too busy supporting his freeloaders!!)
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To: RexBeach
A friend that I take care of at night will be 99 in 5 weeks and only quit driving at the age 95 when license expired.

No accidents and not tickets in more than 70 years of driving.

In fact, as I recall a story she told me she did have one accident and that was with the horse and buggy her father entrusted her with one day.

She tried to take the horse and buggy through to narrow an alley way, as a short cut, and scraped up the side of the buggy and knocked off the cap of the axle.

She remembers her dad yelling at her for the first time which made an impression on her.

She was 13 or 14 then, and that was 80+ years ago. When she got her first car she always remembered that day and drove with the utmost of care.

It is weird to have someone tell you an experience they had 80 years ago. Somehow in my very much younger years and mind it doesn't make sense that I am hearing from someone who tells me stories from so long ago.

27 posted on 06/08/2009 8:06:22 AM PDT by Vendome
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To: Vendome

Great story.

My grandfather used to take his bread wagon into the city every day(20 miles) and sell a loaf of bread for 4 or 5 cents.

That was a mighty strong horse!


28 posted on 06/08/2009 8:08:53 AM PDT by RexBeach ("Do your duty in all things." Robert E. Lee)
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To: RexBeach
That is funny. When we go shopping for food these days I have endure adnauseum about what this or that use to cost.

It is usually preceded by a goofy saying “My hell...” blah, blah, blah.

Sometimes it is actually funny and one of the best stories I have heard about the cost of things is her bewilderment of why people have 30 year mortgages.

Apparently, when she and her husband bought the house she live in, some 66 years ago, they had took out a loan for 5 years and paid it off in 2!.

Couldn't believe but she showed me the papers and the deed. These people were very disciplined.

The other thing that caught my eye was her property tax. Now mind you we are in California and the she lives in would go for $900,000 even in today's market.

Her yearly property tax is $600 and some change. Incredible!

29 posted on 06/08/2009 8:18:57 AM PDT by Vendome
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To: RexBeach
I am 74; my husband just turned 81. I agree/disagree with the article. It is certainly true many older drivers drive too long. It is also true many young drivers drive too fast, use cell phones too much while driving. I haven't looked at statistics, but I think more accidents happen in the very young and very old age groups.

As for me and my husband, we have slowed down 5 or 10 mph to compensate for slower reflexes; we have both had cataract surgery recently and see very well; we would not mind taking a driving test. It is true most oldies do not want to give up driving because it confines them and puts them at someone else's mercy. Just as in most things, there is no "one size fits all" to the driving problem.

Just wait awhile--I'm sure "O" will find a solution/NOT.

vaudine

30 posted on 06/08/2009 8:30:09 AM PDT by vaudine
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To: vaudine

Well, Vaudine, my mother will turn 89 in two weeks. She still drives, but not at night.

She also lives in MA and is worried about this story.

We’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out for the older folks in MA. They sure are reliable voters.

Thanks for your post!


31 posted on 06/08/2009 8:40:00 AM PDT by RexBeach ("Do your duty in all things." Robert E. Lee)
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To: stentorian conservative
Well while you’re at it, have a DUI test as well.

I assume you're being facetious, since drunk people are only impaired when they've recently been drinking.

When I moved to NY two years ago, I fully expected to be tested, at least the so called 'written' test that is really multiple guess. They just handed me a NY license when I turned over the WA one and the proper fees. The behavior of my fellow drivers proves that bad habits are not ever checked.

As for the cell phone test, I suggested allowing people who are able to do a thing that is simple for some and challenging for others (like riding a motorcycle, for example) be able to take a test to prove their ability, rather than just have their freedom completely shut down.

32 posted on 06/08/2009 3:00:07 PM PDT by hunter112 (SHRUG - Stop Hussein's Radical Utopian Gameplan!)
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To: ex91B10
Moms are like elephants; they never forget.

My father doesn't even bother to remember stuff anymore, that's what he's got Mom for!

33 posted on 06/08/2009 3:00:58 PM PDT by hunter112 (SHRUG - Stop Hussein's Radical Utopian Gameplan!)
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To: GQuagmire; All

There was a deadly car crash on the interstate yesterday. An 89 y/o woman was killed. Her 47 y/o daughter was driving. Maybe if Mom was driving. . .

http://newzjunky.com/police/coplog090608jcso3.htm

Just goes to show that you never can tell.


34 posted on 06/08/2009 4:17:29 PM PDT by stentorian conservative (I'm tired of being Johnny B. Goode and I'm gonna start being Johnny Reb.)
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