Hazards of Elderly Drivers

Driving Mr. and Mrs. Daisy
The Hazards of Elderly Drivers

ENC 1102
December 6, 2012
On a clear September afternoon, I was at a traffic light on a four lane highway.   I was the first vehicle at the light and an older SUV was stopped behind me. The lane next to me also had several cars lined up.   While waiting for the light to turn green, I hear loud squealing behind me.   I look in my rear view mirror in time to see a car coming at a high rate of speed ram into the SUV behind me which in turn hit me, pushing my car through the intersection.   After gathering my wits, I exited my car and went to check on the driver of the SUV.   The driver of the automobile that caused the accident gets out of his car and immediately states “I guess they will take my license because of this.”   This man was at least 80 years old, he was doing 55 mph at impact, and I believe he had no idea the damage he caused.   Because elderly drivers often experience an increase in response time, poor eyesight, and faulty judgment, new laws should be passed in order to ensure their safety and the safety of the public.  
“Roughly 10,000 Americans reach age 65 every day, and nearly 1 in 6 people will be in their golden years by 2020” according to Joshua Miller, Diminished motor skills: 'Silver tsunami', Fox News.   An increase in the older population means an increase in older drivers as well.   About ten percent of the nation's drivers are over 65. However, by 2030, when one in five Americans are over age 65, this percentage will skyrocket.   As stated in the Insurance Journal, University of Rochester, “when elderly drivers get behind the wheel, they often confront the harrowing reality that they cannot easily see other cars, pedestrians, or cyclists moving around them.”   Research conducted at Harvard Medical School shows as we get older our temporal visual area improves, making it better to perceive motion in the background. However, the brain then uses its limited capabilities paying attention to...