Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Washington Post explores issue of seniors and driving

The Metro Section of the Dec. 30 Washington Post took up the subject of seniors and driving in an article by Ashley Halsey III, “The Crossroads of aging and driving: how old is too old depends, but seniors face a tough choice between safety and mobility; car-dependent communities can become a trap”, link here, p B01 in print.

The article reports that 5533 age 65 or older died in auto accidents, 107 in Va, 83 in MD and 10 in DC (were they all drivers?) Vision tests are required at age 40 or higher in MD and 80 in VA, and persons with disabilities (including early Alzheimer’s) must apply in person in DC. When I was living in Minnesota, a vision test was required at renewal, including peripheral vision

Questions could be asked whether caregivers (adult children) could be liable if allowing disabled seniors to drive. Adult children sometimes take away and hide keys or take off distributor caps. The question could be particularly troubling legally in some states with filial responsibility laws, where adult children could be held responsible for disabled parents or their actions. Many states reserve the right to require seniors to retest for a license upon a senior driver’s receiving a police citation for any moving offense.

But the thrust of the article was that seniors need more “complete communities” in suburban areas, where many services are available on the premises without even the need for bus or metro or taxi, and where assisted living services could be made available when needed.

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