Q: My mother at a certain age failed her driver’s license test three times. The feeling of isolation this gave her was frightening. She was still quite sharp and mentally active. Trying to use buses or senior ride programs can severely limit someone in this situation.
The DMV suggested we contact their ombudsman who explained driver licenses with restrictions.
Mom had to drive around with the person and passed. She was given a limited license that allowed her to travel by car for a 5-mile radius from her home; no night driving; and no freeway driving.
It was just enough to allow her to get to the store, see a few friends and the groups she belonged to that gave her joy.
A: These stories can have satisfying endings and contacting the state ombudsman program can help.
Q: Gary, it was interesting to see your columns on when older drivers should give up their licenses. Everything you have passed along is spot on correct and great to have out there in the public, but I do see some misconceptions and prejudices that many readers (not you!) have.
Office of Traffic Safety
A: Blast away, Mr. Safety Man
Q: Very often, the age at which someone might be considered “older” is fluid. Some think it’s 75, some 65, some even at the first sign of gray hair!
Another is that people often will see death and fatality rates by age and number of miles driven and see that there are two features – the rates start right at the highest point of the chart for 16-year-olds, then sink quickly before leveling off around age 35 before starting up again around age 70. People tend to think that older drivers are driving badly, like the young drivers, and getting into crashes.
However, data shows that the rates of drivers age 85-plus are less than a third of those for the under 20 group. The primary reason for the fatality rate being higher for those 70 and over is that they are much less able to physically survive a crash. A crash that a 25-year old might walk away with minor injuries might kill or severely injure a 75-year old. They’re not crashing more often, they’re surviving less often.
A: Yep. The total percentages of all at-fault drivers age 65 and over (a span of 30-plus years) are less than the five-year groups of those under 35. The number of licensed drivers also starts to drop off after age 60,…