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Too Old to Drive

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It is a tough, 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 older loved one deteriorated to the point the keys to the car need to be taken away?

In recent years, Utah has made significant progress toward improving safety among high-risk teen drivers. However, little has been done in the motoring realm of the elderly, even though statistics show drivers 85 and older are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than 16-year-old drivers.

From the American Medical Association, which considers the safety of older drivers a public health issue, comes this ominous warning:

"If we fail to adequately address the safety needs of older drivers, the number of traffic fatalities in this population could triple in the coming years."

In Utah, state policy should not be geared toward placing burdensome restrictions on all senior drivers. Rather, it should augment efforts of families, friends and physicians of the elderly to help them drive safely for as long as possible.

It may mean shorter license renewal intervals, more frequent and thorough vision exams, even the possibility of requiring, in certain instances, actual driving tests.

The issue may be delicate and fraught with emotion, but it is one KSL believes needs to be addressed!

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