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PART 1 Senior drivers: They need compassion, help, understanding & ''senior friendly'' laws, cars and roads
Drivers over 65 are more likely to get into crashes because of declining perception and motor skills, but the biggest risk is to themselves, not others on the highway, says a study based on nearly 4 million traffic accidents. (Drunks, too, mainly kill themselves.)
As they grow older drivers are more likely to cause a crash because of a lapse in perception, such as failing to yield or running a red light. Seniors are also more likely to get into crashes while turning to the left, when drivers often must make quick judgments, the study said.
"We all become inpaired at different rates," said Bella Dinh-Zarr, AAA's director of traffic safety. "As a country, we should really be thinking of ways to help older drivers. There are solutions to these problems and we need to think them out before just giving up our keys." (Imagine a drinking driver making this argument.)
Lore Edidin, 81, of Falls Church, Va., said laws based on age are unfair.
"I know my limitations. I don't drive at night very much and I don't drive on highways. I limit my driving to where I feel secure," said Edidin. (Imagine a drinking driver making this argument, too.)
Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said most safety groups also oppose laws based solely on age because people like Edidin are good at regulating themselves. (Unlike her 87-year-old father, below.)
She said she has asked Maryland's medical review board to consider revoking her 87-year-old father's license after he got into three crashes last year. (Evidently he didn't "know his limitations.")
AAA says older motorists should consider taking specially designed driving courses. (Just a suggestion, if you don't that's ok.)
Dinh-Zarr said vehicles can be modified to help older drivers. Larger rear and side mirrors, larger and brighter dashboard displays and seat belts that are easier to lock would help, she said.
Elderly drivers wear their seat belts more often than any other age group but often complain that the belts are difficult to put on, Dinh-Zarr said. She also said better lighting, larger signs and protected left-turn lanes at intersections would help decrease accidents.
PART 2 Drinking
drivers: They need to learn, "You drink, you
drive, you lose."
"If you drink and drive, the odds are that you will be caught and arrested at a sobriety checkpoint,"---Lt. Patrick Burke, Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. (And if you're actually drunk, then what?)