Letter to the Editor: Elderly Drivers

Dear Editor,

We have all been there, driving down Fifth Avenue in Youngstown when suddenly we come across a vehicle going 10 miles per hour below the speed limit and swerving across lanes of traffic. Once we have the opportunity to safely pass them, we notice it is an elderly male driver who can barely see over the steering wheel.

The elderly are at an increased risk of hearing, vision and other health issues that can negatively affect their driving ability. You frequently hear of elderly drivers losing control of their vehicles, going the wrong way down the highway or hitting pedestrians or buildings while in a parking lot.  Elderly drivers account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. Some of these fatalities can be prevented if elderly drivers are retested and, if needed, have their driver’s licenses revoked. Retesting elderly drivers protects not only other drivers and pedestrians, but the elderly themselves. Drivers over 65 are more likely to die in car accidents than due to health issues related to aging.

I propose elderly drivers, those 65 years and older, undergo a mandatory driving test; to include a vision and hearing check; at least once every four years. For those drivers that do not pass the driving test, they should be provided information on available transit resources such as the Western Reserve Transit Authority, Uber and additional transportation resources in their area.  In this way they can maintain and enjoy their independence safely.

Sincerely, Concerned Driver