Relicensing Elderly Drivers: Ain't It About Time?
So I had an automobile accident last week.
My car was parked, mind you. Sitting in the driver's seat, my leg still dangling outside of my car as a result of the door remaining ajar, I was speaking to my daughter, who was standing next to her car parked two spots over. We had met for ice cream -- some mother-daughter bonding time. The lot was fairly empty.
Suddenly, another vehicle drove into the parking lot and (forgoing all of the available parking spaces around) proceeds to drive into the existing space between us, grazing the back side of my car in the doing. Quickly pulling my leg inside my vehicle, I watched as my driver's side door took on a half moon shape at the bottom of it, buckling under the pressure of the other vehicle. Needless-to-say, I needed a tow and was grateful I hadn't lost one in the process.
Startled, I got out of my car only to see a very elderly man emerge from his and begin yelling at me that "I should have closed my car door." I was flabbergasted, struggling between being brought up to be respectful to the elderly and wanting to choke him because of his absurdity and sheer nastiness. The incident grew worse from there, ending in the police confiscating his license and the license of the wife sitting alongside him. Had this not been a real occurrence, I would have thought I was on America's Funniest Home Videos.
My car now sits in a repair shop awaiting repairs and I have to say "thumbs up" to Utica National Insurance Group for making the whole situation quite easy to manage. But the question of how ludicrous the entire situation was when such an incident needn't have occurred given the proper societal measures were enacted, didn't escape me.
In other words, I don't understand why this nation does not require its elderly to undergo a relicensing program. I know I am not alone in my thinking. Comparing the worry of "lost independence" against the worry of "lost lives" because certain elderly remain on the road that shouldn't be seems like a poor excuse to not instate such a program. It would be easy to carry out too, if not, revenue producing as the DMV could hand the task over to private driving instruction schools to carry out. Say from age seventy on, individuals would need to be tested every seven years. If they pass, they drive. If not, they don't. I'd agree to it and I am sure many of you would too.
We've all experienced the result of poor elderly driving realities in some way and none of them good. When is our nation going to do something concrete about it?
At a time when Uber and Lift thrive, buses and trains run, and sidewalks call, relicensing should be mandatory. Maybe an opportunity for a new livery-type business specific to driving the elderly? Those yellow cabs need to do something with their time. This might be their come-back opportunity -- shuttling the elderly within cabs in which they are familiar.
In any event, I welcome your thoughts and stories on the matter. And please don't think I'm heartless but "safety" in everything must always come first, in my opinion. And clearly, some of these elderly drivers are not safe!