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View Poll Results: Should elderly drivers be retested regularly after the age of 70?
Yes 44 52.38%
No 14 16.67%
Moot point, the RTO driver tests are a farce. 26 30.95%
Voters: 84. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10th December 2013, 23:28   #1
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Default Should elderly drivers be retested regularly after the age of 70?

My dad stopped riding scooter in his mid 60s, as the Bangalore traffic started getting thicker. Don't think he rode after 1997. He never owned a car, so that's a moot point. Now he is 81 and travels everywhere in bus or auto. He manages well enough, so that is fine.

But my mother's cousin is 88 and he still drives his Alto. All kids are settled too far, some abroad. He can barely see during day, and very little during night. He has constant leg pain and can barely walk, but too proud to use walking stick. He can't modulate the accelerator properly any more, he revvs every time he takes off. There have been numerous close calls in the car, but he is simply not ready to give up the car.

I feel there should be a re-test every 2 years after 70, and every year after 80 for renewing the DL. However, considering the corruption at RTOs, I guess everybody will breeze through the re-test.

Last edited by Samurai : 13th December 2013 at 19:36.
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Old 11th December 2013, 07:55   #2
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Lets remember that the 'elderly' drivers have much much better road manners than most of the young, brash lot these days. My father started driving sometime in 1960 or thereabouts. His 52 - 54 odd years of driving all over the place, in all sorts of conditions, on-road, off-road and in all sorts of bikes, cars, tractors and jeeps makes him quite an expert, in my opinion. Sensitivity to other road users, care for the car, excellent hill driving and off-road techniques, use of engine braking and a host of 'best practices' that I am happy to have learned from him still stand me in good stead. He is 71 years old now and grace of god still perfectly fit and in possession of all the essentials to good driving. I do not see him give up his car for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, we are looking at changing the existing car sometime soon.Yes, he is getting older, but that does not mean that he is getting dimmer. So lets not generalize and patronize the so-called elderly. I think that most of our older generation are in far better fettle and basically are far better behaved on the roads than the present ''blindly acquisitive', 'always-in-a-hurry' generation!

Lets instead, turn our attention to things that need doing, such as inculcating good manners in these idiot first generation car owners/ drivers, cutting out the under-age, un-educated drivers, enforcing lane-discipline, preventing fools on motorbikes from riding on the pavement, placing drunk drivers in jail or penalizing any sort of person who may be drunk or drugged, from driving, errant devils driving school buses at frightening speeds, broken down taxicabs, trucks and public transport, driven by rash, lumpen demons who call themselves drivers and so on. The list can go on! Of course, I agree, physical fitness, good eyesight, understanding and appreciation of road rules, safety and other essential things must be enforced before any person is allowed to drive.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 11th December 2013 at 08:00.
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Old 11th December 2013, 09:26   #3
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

As I expected, the opinion is divided and I can see why. I am not voting because it's simply not possible to put a limit on age for driving. Agree it becomes increasingly difficult to drive as you become older, esp. because your reflexes are not the same anymore. But that varies from person to person, that too very significantly, depending on lifestyle and health conditions. Also agree with one of the posts that many times, an elderly person who drives responsibly is much better than an rash driving youngster.
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Old 11th December 2013, 09:37   #4
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Yes, he is getting older, but that does not mean that he is getting dimmer. So lets not generalize and patronize the so-called elderly.
But you ARE patronising the elderly. I have lots of old people in my extended family. Even the youngest of my aunts/uncles have crossed 60, most are in 70s and rest in the 80s. My grandmother, her sisters and cousins all lived beyond 90 before passing away. Since I spend half my time my native place, I get to hang around a lot with my uncles and aunts, including my parents and in-laws. Since most of my cousins live in cities, it is I who often give rides to my family elders. These are people I grew up watching for all my 44 years. I have seen them when they were young and strong, seen them get married, becoming parents, grand parents, and some will be great grand parents in few years. While most of them have kept their mind intact, it is their body that is weakening. Their eyes aren't half as good when compared to 20 years back. Their reflexes aren't half as good when compared to 20 years back. And their physical strength too has diminished over years, some times more than half. If you dad hasn't dimmed like this, then it is great. He is a rare exception. But we are not addressing exceptions here.

My elderly relatives who were 2-wheeler riders all their life have all given up riding. Because it involves balancing, I guess they get the message quite early, in the 60s itself. My dad would take out my Kinetic Honda in his 60s for a quick dash. He stopped that at 65. But it is the 4-wheeler drivers who are not sure when to give up. Those are the ones who need to be re-tested.

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Lets instead, turn our attention to things that need doing, such as inculcating good manners in these idiot first generation car owners/ drivers, cutting out the under-age....
This is a classic example of red herring. We are discussing elderly drivers, and you want to discuss something else. Yes, there are other problems, but they can be discussed under relevant threads. There are lot more threads discussing bad drivers, but we have only one thread on elderly drivers.

I do not want to equate elderly drivers to bad drivers or underage drivers. Elderly drivers are mostly drivers who drove well all their life, but are unable to continue so due to diminished physical capacity/reflexes. They deserve all our respect and care. Not only I want to discuss how they could be retested, but also their options after they stop driving.

My maternal uncle who drove everywhere in his Bullet Enfield, had switched to his son's chauffeur driven car. But that came to a halt with this incident:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...uild-cost.html

Now I give them a ride whenever possible, until my cousin makes some arrangement. But many other uncles/aunts don't have any alternative arrangements. Even my parents take the public bus when I am away in Bangalore. That worries me a lot.

There has been enough discussions about taking away the key. The government has no mechanism in place, so it can be only achieved by relatives. But the issue doesn't end there. We have to provide alternate arrangement to our elders who once moved around independently on their own. If you simply take their keys away, you take away their pride, and their independence.

Giving them a chaffuer driven car is an expensive option not all can afford or prefer. How do we solve this problem?
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Old 11th December 2013, 09:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
But you ARE patronising the elderly. I have lots of old people in my extended family.
This is a classic example of red herring. We are discussing elderly drivers, and you want to discuss something else. Yes, there are other problems, but they can be discussed under relevant threads. There are lot more threads discussing bad drivers, but we have only one thread on elderly drivers. I do not want to equate elderly drivers to bad drivers or underage drivers. ?
Sorry Boss.
I completely, totally and strongly disagree that I am patronizing the elderly. That is a totally incorrect assessment on your part.
With reference to the other allegation of creating a 'red herring', I strongly disagree with that too. All that I sought to do was to illustrate my point by making a comparison. I beg to state that this does not classify as a red herring!
Last, at no point do I wish to ever 'equate' a 'senior driver' with a 'bad driver' or 'underage driver'. Indeed the comparison made, seeks to illustrate and call out the glaring differences! To 'compare' does not necessarily mean the same as to 'equate'.
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Old 11th December 2013, 10:05   #6
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

1) When you say people don't dim (physically deteriorate) with age, just because your dad isn't doing so, I feel you are patronising the elderly. My maternal uncle (75) was very strong in his 30-40s. If I tell him now that he is as strong as then, he will know I am patronising him, albeit affectionately. In 30 years if my son says I am as strong as in my 40s, I'll probably smack him with my weak hands for patronising, albeit affectionately.

2) When you replace one discussion with another, it is a red herring. That is my understanding of the concept.

We can agree to disagree. Strongly, if you prefer.
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Old 11th December 2013, 10:05   #7
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

I don't want legal restrictions but I'd want anyone >60 to be chauffeured.

As many people as I've come across for whom age is just a number, I don't think its the same case with everyone even if they enthusiastically make it out to be so.

Also, when SO MANY options are available, why take chances.
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Old 11th December 2013, 10:09   #8
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

First of all, can someone youing please produce proper statistics of road mishaps categorized by age bins of 20 years - as in 18-38-58-78-98- ? Then we will see the truth. Some time ago on some thread in this forum I had read some young drivers holding a finger against old drivers who go slowly and hold up traffic. What an irony!

Second piont - it is better for elder folks to drive door to door than to walk out to a public transport for fear of being mowed down by some young opinionated driver. Just my two humble bits, guys I am yet young but will soon become elderly so you know that I have to defend my future.

Third point - People above 60 are required to renew their DLs every 5 years instead of the 10 years period for younger folks; satisfied?
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Old 11th December 2013, 10:28   #9
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Lets remember that the 'elderly' drivers have much much better road manners than most of the young, brash lot these days.
That is too a sweeping statement. Either people have road sense or not. It is not dependent on age. Given that most riders/drivers are males aged less than 50, it is they who come out as 'brash' on road.
But when I am driving, I would be very cautious while driving past elderly or women drivers.
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Old 11th December 2013, 11:19   #10
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I do not want to equate elderly drivers to bad drivers or underage drivers. Elderly drivers are mostly drivers who drove well all their life, but are unable to continue so due to diminished physical capacity/reflexes. They deserve all our respect and care. Not only I want to discuss how they could be retested, but also their options after they stop driving.
The definition of elderly is quite vague, if bad reflexes/judgement were to be kept as a benchmark, most of the first time drivers in their 20s and 30s wont make the cut. The diminished physical capacity argument is quite suspect, 20 years ago, you had someone in his prime drive an Amby over a 2 lane road that passed off as a highway then. Today the same person drives a much more advanced car with airconditioning, probably automatic with cruise control, hence the fatigue is lower because of all the improvements we have seen in cars over the decades.

I am referring to my dad's generation, almost all of them would be better than the majority of drivers, mostly first time car owners, you see in places like Electronic City. Most older generation folks know when to dip their headlights, most younger folk have no clue about this, how many older people switch on the hazard lights to go straight or park in the middle of a main road to pick up a friend? Younger drivers need to be retrained more often, especially the ones who have a new car with plastic covers on the seats and and "L" board 2 years after they got the car. I know its a stereotype, but from my experience its quite a reliable bet.
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Old 11th December 2013, 11:53   #11
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

I came across this thread today and must say that am shocked to see many arguing for a blanket ban on driving for people above a certain age. Of course, all arguments have been rehearsed time and again here, but can't help reiterating some of them. When I learned driving at the age of 50 a couple of years ago, there was a school of thought which suggested I will never be able to drive as well as most. Many doubted whether I would be able to drive on Delhi roads. I am glad to say these doubts proved unfounded.

As far as a ban on driving for elderly of certain age is concerned, may I just say the following:

1. The argument that medical fitness test is not reliable because of corrupt administration is spurious. One can say, Indians should not be allowed to drive because of corruption in licensing procedures.
2. The argument that there may be subtle deficiencies which may not be detected in medical tests but are crucial in driving is also spurious because it applies to everyone. There may be people who get angry at little things should not be allowed to drive because they are a danger to other drivers. It is the responsibility of the people close to them that they stop such people from driving. They may not succeed, so what. Solution is not to ban a whole section of people.
3. If the young below a certain age can be barred, why not the elderly above a certain age. But the young are barred only till a certain time; they can drive for the rest of their lives. You want to ban the elderly for the rest of their life. It is not the same.

We should remember that even disabled people can drive, once their specific disability has been addressed with respect to driving by some modifications of vehicles. Driving requires a minimum medical fitness and mental alertness. One can have reasonable standards of fitness. It would be difficult to have such for mental alertness. But this applies to everyone, not only to elderly.
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Old 11th December 2013, 12:00   #12
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

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Originally Posted by avira_tk View Post
The definition of elderly is quite vague, if bad reflexes/judgement were to be kept as a benchmark, most of the first time drivers in their 20s and 30s wont make the cut.
Let's clear the vagueness right away.

Elderly drivers in this thread refer to people who are in their 70s or more, who were capable drivers once, but don't have the same eyes or reflexes or strength they once possessed. If you know people in their 70s and 80s who are still competent drivers, they are exceptions and we are not talking them either.

In other words, this thread is about people who have aged 70 or more and have diminished vision, reflex and strength.
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Old 11th December 2013, 12:15   #13
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Let's clear the vagueness right away.

Elderly drivers in this thread refer to people who are in their 70s or more, who were capable drivers once, but don't have the same eyes or reflexes or strength they once possessed. If you know people in their 70s and 80s who are still competent drivers, they are exceptions and we are not talking them either.

In other words, this thread is about people who have aged 70 or more and have diminished vision, reflex and strength.
I don't think its fair to discriminate, a 30 year old who needs to keep his cabin light on to select the right gear would be a greater threat to me than an 80 year old who drives at 25kmph because he feels uncomfortable going faster. I know the speed is slow, but the average speeds in Bangalore rarely cross that figure. Disciplined driving would take out the so called danger you seem to think older people pose, younger drivers seem to be always involved in multiple fatality accidents going by news reports, that doesn't mean there should be a ban on youngsters driving. Most of the older folk avoid night driving anyway and can go into town when traffic is low as they are retired and have time on their hands. I would place older people far down on the list compared to bikers, newbie drivers and auto, somewhat necessarily in that order. Bikers especially as their attitudes to pedestrians take the meaning of uncivilized to a different level
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Old 11th December 2013, 13:06   #14
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

I don't think, age should be the sole factor. But it wouldn't be proper, either, if they are made to undergo fitness tests every 2-3 years. As usual, the more the rules, more people to implement, means more corruption.

I think, it is better to leave it to the individuals to decide whether they can drive anymore or not. It is not like DUI where they are too handicapped to decide themselves. I might be incorrect, but I haven't seen many seniors on the road that are hazards. At best they are an irritation. Mostly, they drive slow, don't "hurry up" at yellow lights and more often "not get out of your way". They are still better than those who drive on the right most lane at 40kmph because somebody told them that their cars give good mileage at that speed.
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Old 11th December 2013, 13:22   #15
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Default re: Should elderly drivers be retested after the age of 70?

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Originally Posted by avira_tk View Post
I don't think its fair to discriminate, a 30 year old who needs to keep his cabin light on to select the right gear would be a greater threat to me than an 80 year old who drives at 25kmph because he feels uncomfortable going faster.
This thread is not about somebody who can't drive at 30.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avira_tk View Post
Disciplined driving would take out the so called danger you seem to think older people pose, younger drivers seem to be always involved in multiple fatality accidents going by news reports, that doesn't mean there should be a ban on youngsters driving.
This thread is not about rash young drivers either.

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Originally Posted by avira_tk View Post
Most of the older folk avoid night driving anyway and can go into town when traffic is low as they are retired and have time on their hands.
I avoid night driving since my eyes are affected a lot by high beams. But this thread is not about me either.

This thread is about elderly drivers who have lost their ability for drive competently, like my mom's cousin who is 88 and can barely control the car.

All his cousins who are in their 70s and 80s themselves, are saying they find his driving scary. How is that discriminating?
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