The six-month driving ban for an 86-year-old man who hit a teenage pedestrian and left her with brain damage raises the question of whether drivers should still be on the road when they reach a certain age.
Certainly these concerns are valid as it is to everyone’s benefit to keep the roads safe. But the debate should not be restricted to the question of age.
Regardless of how old we are, there are health conditions that can make driving more difficult. Poor eyesight, for example, can afflict all ages.
Still, as we grow older we become all too aware that abilities we took for granted in our younger years are not always there when we need them.
Many of us get around this simply by being more cautious. While some younger drivers might become frustrated if they get stuck behind a slow-moving senior, it’s clear in that situation who is more likely to cause an accident.
Defensive driving is always important, and making sure we have plenty of distance for stopping goes a long way toward avoiding accidents at any age.
But no matter how cautious we are, and no matter how stellar our driving record, there are warning signs to watch out for as they sneak up on us.
Pain or stiffness can make it more difficult to do simple things such as shoulder checks or even moving your foot to the brake. Turning the steering wheel can become more of a strain.
Reaction times can also be slower, making it trickier to respond to what other drivers or pedestrians are doing.
There have been calls for mandatory driver testing at a certain age, and there may be some merit to that, but in the meantime it is in the best interest of older drivers to take the initiative in ensuring they are able to drive safely.
This can be done with regular vision and hearing checkups, plus reporting any health concerns to a doctor.
Perhaps the best thing we can do is listen to family and friends. If they think there is a problem, then it may be time to let someone else do the driving.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.