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With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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Old 12-16-2009, 09:33 AM   #1
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With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

I decided to start this thread so that i could talk about the subject without taking the other threads off topic.

As you now know, My good friend Josh Doll was killed in May by 88 year old Charles Clevenger, who had allegedly had either a revoked or suspended license and had not driven in years due to his need of a full-time oxygen tank.

We were talking about this in the other thread:http://www.thewarpath.net/redskins-l...old-qbs-2.html (Is Brett Favre starting a trend for old QB's?)

So now your discussion can go here, so that I dont take the other thread off topic like i had been doing. Sorry.

George Russell Weller - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is the guy behind the farmer's market massacre in 2003 that left 10 people dead and i think a dozen more injured. The incident at the time really sparked a debate over whether or not the nation needed some kind of checks and balances when it comes to old people that may be unsafe to keep their license.

I know in Virginia, we do not have any kind of testing to see if you are still physically fit to keep your license other than the vision test (check to see if you see flashing lights). I dont mean to sound discriminatory, but i think that over a certain age, or after a serious surgery/debilitating injury, you should have to retake a driving test in order to keep your license. The only people who should be worried about it are the people who obviously cannot still safely drive. I know plenty of people in their 60's and 70's who would pass it just fine....but i know even more that wouldnt even stand a chance.

What do you think? read the examples given of Charles Clevenger and Russell Weller, and see if what happened was fair. Neither man was given any jail time due to their age.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:54 AM   #2
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

I knew one elderly man who was on medication, but the doctors had given him permission to drive. One day, according to him, while on his medications, he still had a seizure and killed two teens. He served 3 years in prison, lost his retirement, and the doctor involved paid out zero through a settlement his insurance reached.

It's not true that elderly won't be punished, but testing and medical certifications after some basic age, 65/70, would certainly make sense.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:58 AM   #3
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

Yes there should be more strict testing requirements of drivers over a certain age. But at the same time, if someone wants to get in a car and drive regardless of whether they have a license or not, not much you can do to stop that.

As far as tossing elderly people in jail, not sure I really see the benefit of making them a financial burden on the state.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:02 AM   #4
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

Here is some good info to chew on

III - Older Drivers

Part of the increase of course is just due to an increased population.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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I knew one elderly man who was on medication, but the doctors had given him permission to drive. One day, according to him, while on his medications, he still had a seizure and killed two teens. He served 3 years in prison, lost his retirement, and the doctor involved paid out zero through a settlement his insurance reached.

It's not true that elderly won't be punished, but testing and medical certifications after some basic age, 65/70, would certainly make sense.
Which is something that I think keeps getting lost in this discussion
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

i think its just a bad situation for all involved. nobody wants to send an old person to jail, but at the same time people say that probabtion is not severe enough, especially when people are killed.

I understand that inmates of any age are the burden of a state. But like Russell Weller, he would have only lived a few years at the most, and then died in prison.

I guess i'm saying they should have the same punishment as anyone who would committ the crime. I'm 25....if i had killed 10 people by vehicular manslaughter, i would have served 18 years in jail at least....much more money spent by the state instead of if a guy is 90 and might only live 1 or 2 more years....
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

As most know I'm in the insurance business and sometimes I see a driving record and wonder how the person even has a valid lic. I think DMV needs to start with bad drivers first as they are probably more of a risk. Now for older drivers. I see it on the claims side as some people get older you start to see them have alot of fender benders. One lady who comes to mind had 3 at fault accidents in one year. I have seen other customers who cannot remember what bills they have paid or not paid and are loosing it but are still on the road. I have even called a customers family to talk to them about their parents and their driving issues. If I remember correctly the loss trends on people above 70 is close to that of new young drivers but I could be off some on that. I also think family members turn a blind eye to their parents driving because if they turn in their lic. who will have to get them around? I had one customer around 70 stop in the middle of a busy road that has a speed limit of 50 mph to pick up some plastic flowers. A person rear ended him a luckly his car went right missing him while he stood in front of his car picking up flowers. He drove for another 2 years and had several other fender benders. People say why don't the insurance co. just cancel them but thats tough when they have been a customer for 30 years. Now that I think about it I also remember one customer who had like 6 accidents in like 2 years and I don't think DMV ever contacted him about his lic. Finally after his last accident which was pretty bad the family stepped in and had him surrender his lic.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:26 AM   #8
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

Your numbers are correct, firstdown. The link a few posts above to that iii.org page shows that the number of fatal accidents caused by old drivers are on par with new, young drivers.

The Josh accident was personal to me, but it started way before. In 2007, my dad had to make the decision to put his grandmother, who was then 88 or 89, in a nursing home. She had lived with us for the past year, after having an accident in her apartment building where she fell out of an elevator shaft and broke both hips and fractured her skull.

Right before that, she still drove semi-weekly. She was in bad shape physically. She could barely walk, or turn her head side to side. In January of 2007, she slammed her car into a concrete near her apartment building, injuring herself and 4 other people. A pedestrian was nearby who would have been killed if the car was 1 foot to the right.

The police charged her, but never did she lose her license or face any other kind of penalty. Thank goodness my dad mercifully stepped in when he did. I think most people feel shame to take away their parents licenses, or maybe to the point where they know they would have to drive them around, etc.

I know in Winchester, nearby to here, there is a bus service that takes elderly people around....its non profit and it is aimed at making the streets safer by keeping them off the road.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #9
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

whats wrong with requiring them to take the test when they reach the age of 65? and every year after? the older drivers that are around here, for the most part, are an accident waiting to happen
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:28 AM   #10
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

While we're at it how about more restrictions on drivers under 20? Seems that whenever I see someone on the road pulling a dick move, it's usually some kid who doesn't even look old enough to be driving.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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whats wrong with requiring them to take the test when they reach the age of 65? and every year after? the older drivers that are around here, for the most part, are an accident waiting to happen
Thats my whole point. If they are physically OK and mentally OK, they can pass the test with no worries. The only people crying "age discrimination" are the ones who know they have no chance in hell at passing the test.

But i believe more likely, that most of the really old people know that they probably shouldn't drive, and know they would be up the creek if their state starting making them do a driving test over a certain age.

My great grandma shouldnt have driven....and in her senile brain somewhere she knew that...but she was putting her "independance" above peoples' safety, and possibly lives. She was the kind of person who wouldnt have understood what they had done...and my dad did the right thing.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:34 AM   #12
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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Originally Posted by SolidSnake84 View Post
Your numbers are correct, firstdown. The link a few posts above to that iii.org page shows that the number of fatal accidents caused by old drivers are on par with new, young drivers.

The Josh accident was personal to me, but it started way before. In 2007, my dad had to make the decision to put his grandmother, who was then 88 or 89, in a nursing home. She had lived with us for the past year, after having an accident in her apartment building where she fell out of an elevator shaft and broke both hips and fractured her skull.

Right before that, she still drove semi-weekly. She was in bad shape physically. She could barely walk, or turn her head side to side. In January of 2007, she slammed her car into a concrete near her apartment building, injuring herself and 4 other people. A pedestrian was nearby who would have been killed if the car was 1 foot to the right.

The police charged her, but never did she lose her license or face any other kind of penalty. Thank goodness my dad mercifully stepped in when he did. I think most people feel shame to take away their parents licenses, or maybe to the point where they know they would have to drive them around, etc.

I know in Winchester, nearby to here, there is a bus service that takes elderly people around....its non profit and it is aimed at making the streets safer by keeping them off the road.
You have to remember that when an older person gives up their lic. its alot more to them then just a lic. Its their freedom to come and go when they want, they now have to depend on other for thing like going to the store, doctors, church, etc... and that why so many have a problem handing them over. Plus alot of time when they have an accident they blame it on the other person when its clearly their fault. Its not that they are trying to pull a fast one but thing happen so quick they get confused.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:34 AM   #13
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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While we're at it how about more restrictions on drivers under 20? Seems that whenever I see someone on the road pulling a dick move, it's usually some kid who doesn't even look old enough to be driving.
They did raise the age here. It used to be you got your learner's at 15...the way it was with me in 1999. But now it's 15 and 6 months....making the age of driver's license 16 and 6 months.

Also now if you are under 21 and you get any kind of ticket, you have to go to a DMV driver improvement course or you lose your license. I think that was made a law in like 2003 or 04'

They have been trying to raise it to 18 for a long time around here. I dont know if it would be good or bad. The roads would probably be safer no doubt, but the schools would have to buy more buses, driver, etc....to accomodate all the kids who normally wouldnt be riding the bus....
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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Thats my whole point. If they are physically OK and mentally OK, they can pass the test with no worries. The only people crying "age discrimination" are the ones who know they have no chance in hell at passing the test.

But i believe more likely, that most of the really old people know that they probably shouldn't drive, and know they would be up the creek if their state starting making them do a driving test over a certain age.

My great grandma shouldnt have driven....and in her senile brain somewhere she knew that...but she was putting her "independance" above peoples' safety, and possibly lives. She was the kind of person who wouldnt have understood what they had done...and my dad did the right thing.
I don't think thats true and most think they are just fine to drive. The ones I have seen it takes 3 or 4 things or something really bad happening before they start to get that maybe they should not be driving.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:39 AM   #15
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Re: With a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers; does the nation need stricter rules on licenses?

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They did raise the age here. It used to be you got your learner's at 15...the way it was with me in 1999. But now it's 15 and 6 months....making the age of driver's license 16 and 6 months.

Also now if you are under 21 and you get any kind of ticket, you have to go to a DMV driver improvement course or you lose your license. I think that was made a law in like 2003 or 04'

They have been trying to raise it to 18 for a long time around here. I dont know if it would be good or bad. The roads would probably be safer no doubt, but the schools would have to buy more buses, driver, etc....to accomodate all the kids who normally wouldnt be riding the bus....
They also limited when they can drive and how many passengers they can have in the car.
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