Under the Dome

Tighter driving rules favored for elderly

A poll conducted last month by the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute found that about four of five respondents supported stricter licensing requirements for older drivers.

The question, included in a multi-topic survey by the conservative-leaning think tank on July 14-17, asked: "Would you support or oppose a law requiring drivers to renew their license every three years beginning at age 75, and be required to take a new driver's test beginning at 85?"

The question reflected the provisions of a bill sponsored last session by Rep. Ric Killian, a Charlotte Republican, Thomas Goldsmith reports. The bill fell by the wayside in committee hearings following strong opposition from AARP and others.

And older respondents were almost as likely to support the changes, according to the poll. Seventy-three percent supported stricter regulations, compared to 79 percent among all those who answered.

The debate over older drivers has resurfaced after an 83-year-old driver killed a six-year-old girl this week.


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Re: Tighter driving rules favored for elderly

Nanny-staters now have another group to scapegoat to justify putting even more restrictions on individual liberty. Why hasn't any in "authority" questioned why a school bus stop was set up on such a busy street, and at an intersection?

Re: Tighter driving rules favored for elderly

I followed the links back to Ryan's April piece, where he quoted Ric Killian talking about a study that showed elderly drivers had more accidents per miles driven than everybody else (except teens), which I'm not sure is a fair assessment. Generally speaking, older folks might drive every day, but the trips are shorter. I bet if you looked at the number of trips (instead the total miles), their accident rates would probably mirror ours. That being said, when you reach your 80's, you can go from being a good driver to a dangerous one in a relatively short period of time, and more frequent testing is probably wise.

This is a really tough issue, and I find myself a little torn. On the one hand, I'm about to complete truck driving school, and I've already become a little leery of older drivers. I'm paying closer attention to a lot of things I rarely bothered with when driving a car, and older drivers is one of them. But I also know that many folks this age are living alone, after losing a spouse. You take away their driving privileges, and they are either stuck at home or have to beg somebody to take them places. That's a heartbreaker, and something we should not just casually put in place.

And this brings up another issue that I think shows some logical flaws or even (as you suggested, Giggle) a complete lack of concern and contempt for large segments of our population by Civitas and many Republicans. These guys have fought against public transportation at every turn, but if we had a more complete system of buses and light rail, these elderly drivers wouldn't be trapped at home if/when they lost their ability to drive. Like many other places in this country, they could walk a block or two and then ride wherever they wanted to go.

But instead of looking at mass transit as, among other things, a "freedom of movement" issue, Civitas focuses solely on the dollars and cents of these initiatives. The end result of these myopic agendas is "freedoms lost", which is the exact opposite of what they claim they are trying to accomplish.

Why do Republicans hate old people?

Does anyone know?

Now Civitas is in favor of death panels?

How will old people get to Hardee's for coffee? This is wrong. Art Pope should be ashamed.

Re: Tighter driving rules favored for elderly

Extend those tougher restrictions to teenagers (the number one cause of accidents) and I could favor more controls. Teens whose parents 'buy' them out of tickets and points are empowered in this state. (Nothing is going to happen to me). Those who 'think' they are the best drivers cause much more harm than those who know they need to drive slower and be more cautious.

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