What Are The Concerns With Elders’ Driving Rights

What Are The Concerns With Elders’ Driving Rights

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What Are The Concerns With Elders' Driving Rights

One of the most common concerns at the center of elder rights debates is senior driver rights. Compared to other crucial issues, the importance of senior driver rights may seem insignificant. However, restricting an elderly individual's right to operate a motor vehicle may have substantial implications for his/her daily routine, as well as his/her emotional well-being.

As an individual begins to age, he/she gradually begins losing his/her ability to partake in activities that he/she once enjoyed. An elder will often be required to depend upon other people for physical, emotional, and financial support. Elderly individuals often experience a sense of confinement and isolation, and they feel as if they are losing their freedom. Individuals often find it difficult to cope with aging and to accept the restrictions that accompany this process. The loss of certain rights and privileges often leads to low self-esteem and depression. 

The same is true when a senior driver loses his/her driving privileges. Driving is often associated with freedom. When an individual is able to drive and has access to a motor vehicle to operate, he/she can go wherever he/she wishes, whenever he/she chooses. When elderly individuals face the possibility of having their license revoked, they are being stripped of this freedom.

The emotional effects of this loss are significant, however, the practical, everyday significance that this loss will have on an individual's life may also be substantial. When senior drivers relinquish their driver's license, they are required to depend on other people for transportation. This means that elders must plan their life around another individual's schedule. This is not only inconvenient and potentially irritating to the elder, but may also cause complications if he/she needs to unexpectedly get somewhere. 

The above are undoubtedly legitimate concerns. Nevertheless, it is important to analyze the information and statistics related to senior drivers before criticizing the restrictions that some states have placed on elders. Statistics indicate that senior drivers are more likely to suffer from fatal injuries if they are involved in car accidents than other individuals are. Elderly individuals tend to have slower reaction times, making a senior driver less likely to effectively act in unexpected situations. Research suggests that senior drivers are more likely to become confused while driving, which results in erratic and often dangerous driving. They may drift or swerve in between lanes without warning.

This is not to say that all elderly individuals are incapable of properly operating a motor vehicle or that all senior drivers are dangerous. However, based upon statistics, some states have established legislation aimed at ensuring the capability of senior drivers. Laws regarding driving rights of elderly individuals vary a great deal from one state to another.

Although elders are able to voluntarily relinquish their license, no state legislation allows authorities to strip an individual of their driving privileges without just cause. Some states require a senior driver to receive eye examinations every two years, as opposed to every four years.

California law requires elders to undergo a driving test if they have been involved in at least two accidents within the same year. In the state of Pennsylvania, doctors are required to inform authorities if they have reason to suspect that an elderly patient is impaired or should not be operating a motor vehicle. Some states have found it difficult to establish elderly driving laws because many people argue that this is a blatant form of age discriminationelder rights, the safety of both the elder driver and other drivers is also a concern.

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