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to think 93 is too old to still be driving?

(69 Posts)
Goldidi Wed 26-Sep-12 20:18:50

Last night I met a man at a new group I've joined. He is 93 and still doing a lot for himself which is great, but I did feel uncomfortable when I found out that he drives himself 10miles to and from this group. He is obviously getting on, he is rather deaf even with his 2 hearing aids, he walks with a stick, etc. It's been playing on my mind all day as I am actually rather concerned about the safety of someone of that age driving as his reactions are obviously slower than a younger person, even when he hears/sees what is going on. I do appreciate that driving gives him more independence but is it worth compromising on safety for that independence?

So AIBU in thinking that there should be a cut off age where people need to undergo a medical test or a reactions test to show that they are still capable of driving safely? I would propose about 70ish for that cut off and maybe do the reactions test every couple of years.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:05

There is a cut off age. It's 100.

I see where you are coming from, but some people who're deaf drive perfectly safely, and people's reactions do naturally differ anyway.

It is really hard to know what the right answer is.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:25

How about every three years, from the age of 70?

Toombs Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:29

Good on him, you can be 100% deaf and disabled at 20 years old and drive successfully. 90 does not mean stupid and unable to help yourself.

aldiwhore Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:45

I do think that everybody should retake their test every 10 years, and that should be accompanied by a medical. Regardless of age.

If he is fit and well, his experience will probably make up for the slower response times, and these can be countered largely by anticipation, which many younger drivers lack. I would have thought that this gentleman is the LEAST of your worries on the road.

sleepyhead Wed 26-Sep-12 20:22:15

Well, his GP has an obligation to report him to the DVLA if he/she feels he might not be safe to drive for health reasons anyway I think.

YABU to assume he's not safe to drive because of his age, but I agree it might not be a bad idea to have compulsory checks after a certain age.

sleepyhead Wed 26-Sep-12 20:23:00

Ah, OldLadyKnowsEverything. Well, there you go. No problem then.

Ingles2 Wed 26-Sep-12 20:23:48

that is exactly what does happen.. my fil is still driving at 88 and is checked every 2 years I think... the DVLA also get in touch with the gp as certain disease/illness forfeits licence all together.
I think, hope Fil is going to relinquish his this time.
as for this gentleman, I think YABU to want to dob him in because you think he might be too old... actual evidence of poor driving, fine go for it

Goldidi Wed 26-Sep-12 20:27:41

OldLady yes you do need to renew your licence every 3 years after 70 but there actually aren't any checks to ensure you are still safe to do so, you just have to fill in some forms and send a photo as far as I can see.

I'm not really assuming he's unsafe because of his age, I'm more thinking that it would be a good idea to check that people are still safe at that age. I would be perfectly happy for checks to be made on much younger people as well, in fact I think I would prefer that everyone has to show that their reactions are good every couple of years.

Goldidi Wed 26-Sep-12 20:29:12

I wasn't planning on dobbing anyone in Ingles I have no evidence of dangerous driving at all. I was concerned about him really.

Toombs Wed 26-Sep-12 20:30:38

Can't say I support regular retests, to put in place a regime would be massively expensive and you'd need tens of thousands of examiners plus would you like to know that your licence could be revoked on an examiners whim just because you were a little unwell on test day, that you lost your job because you lost your licence and appeals take months?

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 26-Sep-12 20:31:44

I do think there's a difference between learning to drive with an existing disability, and developing one.

ChocolateIsAFoodGroup Wed 26-Sep-12 20:33:48

I think it really depends. My grandfather will be 95 soon and still drives, and is perfectly safe to do so (I've driven with him, and have to say, I feel more unsafe driving with my 64 year old mum, who, bless her, feels the need to turn and talk to the person in the seat next to her, resulting in some fairly heart-stopping moves grin)

My grandparents on the other side, however, at 96 and 94 respectively (yup, we all live for bloody ages in our family.....) are very sadly much incapacitated - physically - and it would be wildly unsafe for them to drive.

YABU to discriminate on the basis of deafness, btw - and I've worked for a deafness agency, so I know whereof I speak.

bureni Wed 26-Sep-12 20:34:02

It would be interesting to know if the 93 year old had actually ever taken a test at all.

Goldidi Wed 26-Sep-12 20:35:32

So do I LRD.

Would it have to be full retests though Toombs? Could we go for just the reactions part of the theory test? That only takes about 10 mins iirc and wouldn't really need any extra examiners as it's computer based so although it would require extra computers it wouldn't really require additional wages to be paid out.

Goldidi Wed 26-Sep-12 20:37:29

Chocolate I wasn't intending to discriminate on deafness although I can see I didn't phrase that part well, it was meant to be part of a list of things that he has developed as part of growing older.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 26-Sep-12 20:40:57

It could potentially be quite embarrassing/demeaning to feel you weren't trusted to drive any more. But then, it would be good if things like deafness weren't automatically written off as 'no problem' in elderly people. We assumed (and the GP assumed) my gran was 'just going deaf' for years and years, and if she'd known to get more tests they might have found the brain tumour that they found too late, a bit earlier. We know it was that that made her deaf because her hearing came back when she had chemo to shrink it down.

I am sure a lot of old-age problems are relatively benign, but maybe if as a society we had less of an attitude that we can't mention these things and people should just adapt to them, we'd pick up more illnesses/accidents that could be prevented?

totallyrandom Wed 26-Sep-12 20:40:57

I think this is a really difficult question especially as regards older people who live in the countryside (i.e. not many local taxi companies) and without access to public transport. If you make it "too" hard for them to drive, you might be taking away their independence and ability to get out/meet people/stay young "at heart" and some of them could become depressed. I would say that 70 is a bit young for a test, maybe 80 plus? Maybe it could be a test that the GP would have to administer every 3 years to be submitted back to DVLA along with the remaining papers. Then each GP could perhaps make a bit of a balance judgement call on how this would also affect the relevant persons life i.e. if that were a criteria as well. My grandmother drove until she passed away at 92 and it worried us all sick (including of course that she might hurt someone else). She was fiercely independent though and was a great driver (better than me I hasten to add).

IceBergJam Wed 26-Sep-12 20:41:28

Hmm it is also extremely dangerous to drive sleep deprived but many parents do, including me.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 26-Sep-12 20:41:50

Sorry, that is more off-topic than I meant it to be.

In my village when I was little, the GP had a strict agreement with my mate's granddad that he could only drive to the shops, and not on any dual carriageways/motorways. But that is probably very unethical really.

Liketochat1 Wed 26-Sep-12 20:43:40

My auntie still drives at 87 and shows no sign of stopping. She's sensible about it. She sticks to her own town but there's no reason why she can't still be using her car. She's been driving for 70 years. She knows what she's doing.

McHappyPants2012 Wed 26-Sep-12 20:44:29

It was hard enough for me to pass my driving test, nerves got the better of me. 8 years on I have not have any points and never will because i value my licence and dont take chances speeding ect. i have had 1 minor accident which I did 7 year ago where i misjudged a cap. I do belive I am a good driver but I would fail a driving test.

Op yabu age is just a number

Salmotrutta Wed 26-Sep-12 20:45:31

I really don't think someone of 93 is going to be a safe driver - deaf/disabled or not.
Their reactions and reflexes are considerably slowed - that's just how it is. They are also more likely (by the law of probability) to suffer sudden illness behind the wheel than a younger person surely?
My mum stopped driving a few years ago at about 73 ish as she knew she was less capable at night and in busy traffic and my dad who is early 80s will give up soon.
He dislikes driving now, despite being a safe and competent driver, because he knows other drivers are far more aggressive and impatient nowadays.
When he and mum learned to drive nearly 60 years ago shock the roads were so much quieter and people weren't subjected to the pushy arrogance of the modern driver.

Toombs Wed 26-Sep-12 20:45:54

Goldidi, How many millions of licences are there out there, testing centres would be booked up months in advance. How would you feel having failed one to be told that you can no longer drive until you pass, oh, and the next available test is in nine months. If you can just go on taking it until you pass what's the point?

totallyrandom Wed 26-Sep-12 20:48:52

Not sure about making the older generation do computer tests like the modern "hazard perception test"/multiple choice theory test?
Some of them might still have good enough reactions to drive, but not be able to deal with computers/get nervous at the prospect of computers/technology (plus most of them won't necessarily have wifi at home to practise the tests). I know quite a few 50 year olds (thinking of a few ex bosses in particularsmile) who have a mental block when it comes to computers, let along 70/80 plus. That is why I would put a positive onus on the GP/a professional who knows the "patient".

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