Monday, January 28, 2019

Elders & Driving

Elder drivers is a topic I cover in my class every spring, and it's one guaranteed to generate a robust discussion. So a recent story about Prince Phillip allows me to bring in current events to this topic. The Washington Post ran this article, Britain’s Prince Philip, 97, crashed his car. Rescuers say it’s ‘amazing people weren’t seriously injured.’.

Of course, age alone is not an indicator of good or bad driving, but stories like this one allow the students to think about the various issues and how we may as a society address them. Geographic location and financial stability also play into the options available for those who shouldn't (or can't) drive.  In our area, public transportation isn't as plentiful as other urban areas.  The students, of course, would open up a ride-sharing app on their smart phones and order a car.  Elders may not be able to afford to do so, or even know it exists. There are a number of issues that can then arise for those who lose the ability to get places. And of course, we all have an interest in getting unsafe drivers off the road.

I am guessing that Prince Phillip likely has many more transportation options that an average 97 year old in the U.S.   Families frequently need to have "the chat" with their elder relative about stopping driving. The Washington Post article addressed that. "So, who might ask Philip to hand over his car keys? 'It will be the Queen, she’ll be the only one who can really tell him...'”

Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, International | Permalink


Until age 97, my wife’s grandmother drove herself to her breakfast “gathering” restaurant and the senior citizens center. It was not until she got lost one night and wandered about 50 miles from home that the family “retired” her from driving.

My then 80 year old father had the resources and did purchase a vehicle with “dead zone” safety notice and alert, lane control and “front facing radar” with the goal to drive until age 85. He lives in a rural area without any form of public transportation.

As someone who logs between 50-70k miles per year from one corner of my State to the other, it is my opinion that it is not only seniors that need to be alert, capable and knowledgeable of the rules of the road. On an almost daily basis, I see drivers ignoring basic traffic laws and increasingly the probability that they will cause or be involved in a traffic accident.

Posted by: Tom N. | Jan 29, 2019 7:22:28 AM

Post a comment