Driving is a Privilege, Not a Right…

Old Lady Driving

…This is true.

When you’re sixteen you have to pass tests, written and on the road, to receive your license.

These tests are to ensure that you know what the hell you’re doing before cruising around town in 2+ tons of potentially dangerous hardware. It’s not just for the “green” driver’s safety, but for everyone else on the road.

If you’re out drinkin’ and drivin’ or using drugs and doing the same and your driving seems impaired, you’re gettin’ pulled over and your ass gets kicked. Your driving privileges get revoked until you satisfy the requirements of your license suspension. That’s fair.

What if you’re out driving and you’re swerving, driving too slow and not obeying traffic signals… but not under the influence of alcohol or drugs? What if you’re just too damn old to be safely operating a motor vehicle? I believe you should be pulled over and cited for erratic driving… then you should take the driving tests again to retain your license. I know that sounds mean, but…

…While on the way home from work today, I got stuck behind this car that was going maybe 20 in a 35 MPH zone. I kinda hung back because this car went a bit left of center a couple times, causing 4 cars in the opposing lane to slow down or get the hell outta the way to avoid a head on collision. After we got stuck at a red light, the car just sat there several seconds when the light turned green and then proceeded to go straight… out of the turning lane, damn near causing an accident with the car across the way that was attempting a left hand turn.

The driver of that dangerous, potentially life threatening, car? FIVE near misses?

A little old lady, I’m figurin’ somewhere between 60 and 70 years old.

Here are behaviors typically exhibited by some drivers who are becoming “long in the tooth”:

  •  Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target) ~ .02
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
  • Reduced coordination ~ .05
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced Response to emergency driving situations
  • Lack of concentration ~ .08
  • Short term memory loss
  • Speed control
  • Impaired perception
  • Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately ~ .1
  • Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing ~.15

Oh SNAP! Those bullets represent the progression of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and it’s predictable effects on driving straight from the Centers for Disease Control.

The corresponding numbers are BAC% ranging from 1 to 4 drinks in an hour for most men and women.

You’r totally lying if you say you read that list and didn’t recall seeing an old person behind the wheel suffering from one, and more commonly several, of those symptoms.

Just because Granny or Paps has been driving for 50-60 years shouldn’t give them an automatic free pass or an undisputed right to drive!

Impaired driving is dangerous, regardless of whether it’t youth, lack of youth or alcohol and/or drug related.

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