Testing aged wouldn't make roads safer I am 73 years...


May 27, 2000

Testing aged wouldn't make roads safer

I am 73 years old and I drive. To be honest, I do not know if I could pass a test, but what good is a test?

I have been driving for years and have had one accident in all my years, and that was not my fault. I have never gotten a ticket.

I do not like to be dependent upon my children, who work and do not have the time to transport me and do my errands.

That would also take away all the independence I have. I do not think I could live that way - dependent upon anyone else.

I do not believe that tests are required just because you reach a certain age. Some people are still young at age 73, and I believe that I am one of them.

Miriam Scherer


The question The Sun posed concerning testing elderly drivers seems to come up every time an elderly person is deemed responsible for an accident.

The mishap involving an elderly driver triggering the latest outburst was investigated by the media and various state agencies. As I understand it, confusing signs, signals and lane markers contributed to the man taking the wrong ramp.

So, why was his age singled out so quickly as the accident's cause?

The elderly should not be singled out for testing, when so many incompetent drivers of all agesare making the roadways hazardous.

Thomas M. Stevenson


Studies show that the elderly are involved in only 6 percent of crashes. If safety is the goal, not prejudice, testing should begin with those among the other 94 percent.

Yet since 1998, the state's Motor Vehicle Administration has been trying to test seniors. This sponsored project tests only the elderly; that's blatant age discrimination under the guise of safety.

Studies show that those more than 85 years old are safer drivers than teen-agers and that fatalities are lowest among those ages 70 to 75.

The Sun made a big deal of the 83-year-old going the wrong way on the Jones Falls Expressway, but didn't mention that the State Highway Administration admits that signage, lighting and directions at that entrance are poor.

William D. Foy

Bel Air

Being an older driver, I have to resent The Sun's question when I see all the young speeders and the lack of courtesy, especially among the young.

I love young people but they have a lot to learn about courtesy on the road. They do not hesitate to switch lanes while driving fast, with a telephone to their ear.

What good is it to live longer if life gets more difficult and we are deprived of what few pleasures we have left?

Therisa M. Gloriaso


The calendar should not be the criteria for determining a person's ability to drive safely.

What about the 24-year-old who drove "north in the southbound lanes [of U.S. 29], going the wrong way up a single-lane ramp ... to eastbound U.S. Route 40" ("Officer shot in Howard arrest," May 6).

How about aggressive drivers of all ages? Shouldn't they, too, be a target for testing?

So quit picking on the senior citizens - someday you might be one.

Patricia A. Leepa

Ellicott City

As a senior citizen, I am well aware of senior stereotyping. Some of it may have merit; however, from what I see, hear and read, the majority of highway deaths can be attributed to youths between the ages of 16 and about 25 years old.

Many of these youths are defiant, fearless, full of rage and care little about risk-taking. Their reflexes may be better than the seniors', but what good is that if they don't use their brains?

Testing isn't the answer; however, if it must be done, it should be applied across the board.

But what matters the most is how one controls oneself while driving on the highway.

If you're the cause of a serious accident, you should be punished. Age should not be a factor.

Elizabeth Myers


Following the fatal crash caused by an 83-year-old motorist on the Jones Falls Expressway, The Sun requested comment about older drivers retaking driving tests.

I could not help but notice an article in the same edition of the newspaper about two accident victims whose life-threatening injuries were caused by the careless actions of a 39-year-old truck driver.

Serious accidents occur with great frequency and involve drivers of all ages. How about a story illustrating the accident statistics of drivers in all age groups?

Louis Potash


One of the most frightening aspects of aging is the fear of losing one's independence. The ability to get up and go, without permission or help from anyone else, often determines whether a senior citizen is capable of living independently.

Families of ill or disabled individuals know that that their loved one's hope that he or she will be able to drive again often is what keeps their spirits up.

To threaten older people with driving tests that control their independence seems a cruel way to treat our senior population.

Richard A. Berman


Limited licenses could help aging drivers

As a police officer, I know that the subject of elderly drivers is emotionally charged.

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