There’s no need to pick on seniors – there are plenty of poor drivers on the roads who could use a refresher course.
Little surprise that this would raise some hackles: the Canadian Medical Association said in an editorial Monday that as a safety measure elderly drivers should face a graduate licensing system.
We have a graduated system for younger drivers just learning, so that certain privileges are added after a certain length of time behind the wheel.
In the case of seniors, the editorial suggests, such a graduating licensing program might place restrictions on night-time driving, high-speed roads and blood-alcohol concentration.
The rationale for the call includes data from 2009 showing more seniors died in fatal vehicle crashes than any other age group.
As it is now, seniors with a medical condition that might compromise their abilities at the wheel are supposed to be reported by their doctor – although the editorial notes that many doctors don’t do that.
Some provinces, such as Ontario, require drivers by the age of 80 to renew every two years, with inclusion of refresher courses.
But let’s face it, travel some of our streets and you don’t have to go far to note some pretty confused, careless drivers. A lot of them either aren’t paying attention or are pretty hazy on some rules of the road.
We currently enjoy a system where once in our lives, generally while we’re quite young, we are required to pass an examination for the privilege of driving. That’s it, it doesn’t come up again, despite changes to vehicles over the years, changes to roads and increasing traffic.
That licensed driver is behind the wheel of what is potentially a lethal weapon.
It wouldn’t be outrageous to suggest that drivers in general – of all ages – could use refreshers from time to time.
People would complain about the expense and inconvenience, but lives are at stake. We have more stringent regulations in place for activities of far less risk.