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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Elderly need to stop driving

    When someone can’t hear when they’re being honked at, or can’t even read the speed limit sign, it’s time to retire from being behind the wheel.

    There should be standards to determine who is too old to drive, especially considering the elderly population is predicted to more than double by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Accidents are one of the top causes of death in the U.S., after heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Furthermore, drivers 65 and older are expected to account for 25 percent of driver fatalites by 2030, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They accounted for only 14 percent of driver fatalities in 1999.

    Memory, reflexes and vision decline as people get older. All of these are essentials for safe driving.

    Wisdom may come with age, but it’s like the elderly think they are invincible. While they think they may be able to dart in front of traffic to get in the far left lane and somehow have everyone come to a complete stop for them, eventually someone is going to get hurt.

    In order to practice safe driving, everyone has to be aware of the vehicles surrounding them. This goes for all drivers. But it’s also important as an individual to make sure you’re not reckless and that other drivers can predict your actions.

    There is a reason the Department of Motor Vehicles requires a vision and hearing check before giving out a license — it’s to make sure drivers can see and hear other cars.

    In August 2011, a woman from Buckeye, Ariz., died after running a stop sign and crashing into a pickup truck. The Associated Press reported the woman was in her 90s.

    Accidents such as these occur too frequently, and something needs to be done soon because they are expected to increase.

    The Arizona Department of Transportation issues “extended” driver licenses, which do not expire until age 65. Drivers are required to update their photo and vision screenings just once every 12 years.

    Arizona law also requires elderly people ages 65 and up to renew their license every five years, and those 70 and up cannot renew their license by mail, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website.

    We have enough problems when it comes to people talking on their cellphones, teens texting and parents dealing with their babies in the back seat.

    More action needs to be taken in Arizona, and all around the U.S., to ensure all drivers are not a hazard on the road.

    — Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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