A lot of baby boomers have had the awful sandwich generation experience of teaching their kids to drive while getting elderly parents to give up their cars.
Older drivers with slowed reflexes, unsure judgment, memory problems and poor vision can be uncertain or unsafe on the road. Yet some feel about their cars like Charlton Heston felt about his guns: The only way anyone is going to get it is if he pries it from my cold, dead hands.
For people at any age, a vehicle exemplifies independence, and folks don’t give that up without a fight.
Yet, a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report notes that seven out of 10 drivers age 65 and older favor policies that require drivers age 75 and older to renew their license in person, which all states don’t require. The April 19, AAA Midwest Traveler magazine also said that nearly 80 percent of drivers over age 75 favor medical screenings for motorists 75 and older to remain licensed.
The vision test catches a lot of problems. But a full health screening for seniors will help keep the roads safer for everyone.
The AAA report also found that nearly 90 percent of drivers 65 and older reported no crashes in the last two years. Also, 90 percent of older drivers reported no moving violations in the last two years, and 65 percent of drivers 75 and older reported never using a cellphone while driving compared with 48 percent of drivers age 65 to 69 who never use a cellphone when driving.
What’s quickly becoming clear is that baby boomers are inheriting the older driver issues as this group of more than 70 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 continue to gray and age.