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The World's Worst Drivers

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ–If you asked most people who the worst drivers in the world are, they would probably tell you the title belongs to teenagers. They might say that these young people are irresponsible, inexperienced and prone to taking dangerous risks. While these things could be true (and probably are), they don’t mean that teenagers are the worst drivers in the world. That title actually belongs to your grandparents.
Driving is one area of life that is quite negatively affected by aging in elderly people. As a person ages, their vision deteriorates and their mental functions and reaction times slow. These things are natural parts of growing older. Unfortunately, they also mean that elderly folks are the worst and most dangerous drivers on the roads. Requiring elderly drivers to retake their driving tests is one possible solution to this issue, although there are many who say that elderly people should not need to retake their driving tests.
The primary reason for not requiring elderly drivers to retake their driving tests is that if the driver failed, they would lose their last bit of independence and mobility. Other critics cite the fact that Motor Vehicle Commission center wait times have skyrocketed in recent years and would continue to skyrocket if the elderly were required to retake their driving tests. Some even deny that elderly drivers are dangerous at all and insist they are actually quite safe. According to the Center for Disease Control, elderly drivers are more likely than any other age group of drivers to wear seat belts, avoid driving in adverse weather, and refrain from driving while intoxicated.

Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer
Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer

While these statistics seem to suggest that elderly drivers are in fact safe, they tell only part of the story. The CDC also reports that 15 elderly drivers are killed and 500 are injured every day in car accidents. Additionally, the agency confirms that elderly drivers are responsible for 20 percent of all traffic fatalities, vehicle occupant fatalities, and pedestrian fatalities. That makes an elderly driver only 10% less dangerous than a drunk driver.
These are not the only facts that suggest elderly drivers are extreme hazards on the road. According to a study done by Australian psychologist Dr. Kaarin Anstey, drivers aged between 70 and 74 averaged at least one critical error (a situation in which a crash had to be avoided) in one hour of driving, while drivers only ten years older averaged at least four critical errors. Dr. Anstey also found that the elderly drivers she tested regularly did not check car blind spots, did not maintain steady lane position, and forgot to use turn signals.
Elderly drivers are dangerous and there are hard numbers and facts that prove it. If elderly drivers were required to retake their driving tests, those elderly drivers who are truly dangerous would be prohibited from driving. A simple retake of the driving test is all that would be required. That seems like a fair compromise since the danger elderly drivers present is very real and has the potential to affect anyone on the road.