The question of whether seniors should give up their driving privileges at a certain age or at least be retested usually comes up when one is involved in an accident or someone is stuck following them on a one lane road. Well this just in: teen drivers cause significantly more accidents than seniors! The United States Census Bureau calculates 12.2 percent of car accidents are the responsibility of teen drivers while 7.5 percent of accidents are caused by drivers over 65.

As much as seniors can lose their lives driving, just like we all can, a study by AAA regarding older drivers says that when older people/seniors STOP driving, they often suffer from:

  • Diminished productivity and low participation in daily life activities outside of the home
  • Risk of depression nearly doubled
  • Former drivers were five times as likely to be admitted to a long term care facility
  • Accelerated decline in cognitive ability over a 10-year period
  • 51 percent reduction in the size of social networks over a 13-year period

My father lived to be 92 years old and drove until one month before he died. Every Saturday he would drive from his condo in Howell (where he lived by choice) to the Englishtown Auction where he would walk the grounds and buy something for me for a dollar that you would pay double for in a store. Then he would pick up a dozen donuts and drive to my house where he would have coffee and play with our boys. Sundays, he would drive to either Freehold where he would hang with his firemen friends, or Asbury Park where he would lay on the beach. A few times a week he would drive to Belmar to go fishing with his friend Bob and of course numerous trips to me sister's home in Manalapan.

There were times when he was involved in accidents and fender benders but when we investigated we found that they weren't his fault. I'm positive that if we would have taken away his license, he would have died much sooner. And what right do we have to do that?

So much of what kept my father alive was his independence and you shouldn't have that taken away because you're fortunate enough to live longer. If a doctor makes a diagnosis that a person is not of his right mind to drive, then he should be required to report that to the authorities, but if a person is of their right mind and has a valid New Jersey drivers license they should be allowed to drive.

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