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Too Old to Drive?



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It is a difficult, even delicate issue?

When is someone too old to drive? More specifically for many families - when have the visual, cognitive and motor skills of an elderly loved one deteriorated to the point the keys to the car should be voluntarily surrendered or taken away?

The debate in Utah has intensified since the tragic fatal auto-pedestrian accident in May involving an 86-year-old driver. There's renewed talk of advancing legislation that would allow people to confidentially report impaired drivers to the authorities, or of requiring more frequent testing of elderly drivers, say at age 85.

There are some "pros", but also a lot of "cons" to both of these ideas.

Here's an additional suggestion: rather than merely legislating new restrictions, what about taking steps to improve the driving environment for aging drivers? For example, improve the visibility of road signs and pavement markings especially near intersections, since that's where statistics show elderly drivers have most of their problems. National studies suggest more dedicated left-turn lanes and left-turn traffic signals would result in fewer crashes involving older drivers.

KSL believes creative ways can be found to improve traffic safety among older drivers that aren't too costly or intrusive. Before jumping on the bandwagon of more restrictions, all options ought to be explored.

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