T Nation

Car runs down people at farmers' market

This afternoon an 86 yr. old man ran his car through a farmers’ market in Santa Monica, Ca. According to the media 8 people have died so far including a 3 yr. old girl. Investigators are not sure what really happened. Should those over a certain age not be permitted to drive or operate certain machinery or vehichles? Obviously, we have regulations prohibiting those under a certain age from operating certain machinery or vehicles. My question is what do you think?

Driving is a privilege, not a right. I say they test EVERYONE’S eyesight and driving skills whenever they have to renew their license. It’s ridiculous how many idiot drivers we have, from teens to 86 yr old men.

My grandma had a crick in her neck once. She was going 90 down the highway. She had to get over. Didn’t look, just went. “Grandman, there’s somebody there” I say that as I’m sitting in the back seat, right next to the other car. “They’ll move”. Yeah, she doesn’t need a license.

I JUST read this. Soooo upsetting.

I know that this is the second incident in one month of where a elderly person, behind the wheel of a car, loses control.

In both cases (this one and the previous), the elderly individual may have pressed on the gas rather than the brakes. AND both were carrying valid driver licenses.

What to do? Sure, we could say that once you hit a certain age you are not allowed to drive; but NOT all individuals over the age of 70 are incapable of driving. Then we could say, there should be some sort of extra testing for those over the age of 70. Obviously there will be costs involved on the creation of this “added” testing as well as another added fee to many already cash-strapped seniors.

Just a frustrating situation.

Well, the additional testing will just be called age discrimination. It already has been. There have been bills proposed for extra testing, but shot down due to discrimination. It’s sad, but something needs to be done. I also think that you should be able to get a license at 18, not 16, as is the case in many states.

When I was down on vacation in California/Mexico earlier this summer one of my grandmother’s friends came down from San Fran to San Diego to visit us and go to Mexico with us. While we were driving from San Diego to Chula Vista (basically a suburb of San Diego) I was sitting in the passenger’s seat navigating. Ever notice that if you’re sitting in the passenger seat and you’re in a car with a horrible driver you constantly find yourself pressing your foot down on the floor as if to brake like you were driving? I do it all the time without even thinking about it. Anyways, I was going friggin nuts with this woman behind the wheel because she was such a horrible driver.

I think there should be periodical testing after a certain age that should be paid for by …dun dun dun dun dun dun dun THE INSURANCE COMPANIES! They can take some of the $300 a month that they milk from the single, males under 25 to help pay for this testing.

my grandfather is in his late 80’s and every year he has to get his eyes and ears checked. as well as having to take the written and driving test.

Yes, the age discrimination peeps (read AARP and other groups) always lobby hard to shoot down any laws of that sort.

We need to do something, and like patricia said it all costs a lot. Testing everyone every renewal would be a huge drain on the system. Recall how long new drivers wait to get tests (1-3 months) and that is essentially only 16 year olds… Now imagine multiplying that “load” by 50-60.
Don’t even want to think about the size of the driver’s testing staff for that.

Simulators are getting good enough that they would be an answer, only issue with them is cost due to quality. For a simulator to work correctly (and not make a good amount of people sick) it has to be a full motion one, and those aren’t all that cheap, dont think small towns could afford em.

Other issue to deal with is transportation for all the people who lose their license. Face it, we live in a country which is mostly car based. It’s hard now for people who don’t live in certain locations to get to places, just imagine increasing that number of non drivers by 2-5x.

I also know all about that hitting the phantom brake thing. Used to ride in back seat with a grandpa who was fully there but had a deathly slow reaction time. Finally he started to let me drive when we were in town cause he was just no good at it anymore due to all the meds/pain he was in. Took a lot to swallow his pride and admit it, most people cant do that.

I agree with Patricia that it’s a very frustrating situation. I don’t know about the age discrimination thing. I’d like to know what the basis for that argument was. If it could be proven that certain abilities decline considerably, on average, after a certain age, I think that age should be used to start testing older people. Say it’s 65, then test them every 5 years after that.

I understand that it may be hard for older people to take, but if you really give a damn about other people, then you will not want to jeopardize their lives for your convenience.

I’m not opposed to retesting all drivers every 5 years, but that would most likely be prohibitively expensive, along with making the DMV a logistical nightmare. Testing older people would be a fraction of that problem, but its viability would depend on what size of fraction it was.

It would rip my heart out to see my grandfather’s license revoked, but the pain would be much less than him hurting someone on the road.

If we’re going to be consistent in our age discrimination, there is no problem with setting an upper age limit after which point one may not drive unassisted. After all, we have no problem setting a minimum age, irrespective of the fact that some 15 year olds could drive (and likely would do so better than a lot of 90 year olds…). Additionally, slow reaction times leading to accidents is the rationale behind anti-drunk-driving laws, and I would bet dollars to donuts that most 21-year-olds could drive better after 3 drinks than most 80-year-olds could, period (not to mention all the medications most seniors are on).

The only real reason you won’t see any significant restrictions on the driving privileges of the elderly was the top reason cited by Anti-Liberal: they vote at a very high percentage, and no politician wants a bunch of pissed off elderly people come election time (which is why we can’t fix Medicare or Social Security properly either). Young people do not vote as often, so politicians freely disregard their opinions. Politicians know there are two main groups of voters: people with kids and, to a greater percentage, the elderly.

According to news reports this morning, this guy drove 3 1/2 blocks at a very high speed. Kinda hard to believe that if you accidently mash the gas instead of the brake that you would just keep it there for several minutes as you mowed down dozens of people. Not to mention all the produce, wood etc that had to be flying into his windshield from the food stands.

I’m not suggesting it was in any way intentional, but at the same time it seems to stretch the meaning of “accident” a little ways.

So there was a case about, what, 10 days ago in Florida where a driver mowed down 16 cyclists when laking an illegal lane change. This guy won’t even be charged! Even though he was under the influence of medication (which he HAD to know about). Fortunately, no one died at that one, but two of the cyclists are STILL in the hospital. And this guy also has a built-in liability limit – poverty. I think of 16 cyclists who are basically SOL as far as getting any recompense.

And now this.

I know in my case, my mother can’t drive due to eyesight problems, and my father SHOULDN’T drive (which, thankfully he doesn’t at night) due to Parkinson’s and neck immobility.

wow! first i just have to say this is a great thread!
i know how all of you feel. when i had my 79 year old grandma drive me i always found my self going past the lines on the side of the road then she would correct and then drift closer and closer to the rails. it realy scared the sh*t out of me when we would go over the bridge here. and then when she would make a turn there was no hand over hand turning it was both hands going slowly around the steering wheel. i mean give me a break! i just wanted to tell her look grandma, it would be better if i drove so we both can live a little longer. but i just bit my tounge.

prljam - While I would like to see that initiated, I do believe that it would be a John Holmes pain in the ass.

Be very careful what you lobby for, you will be that age sooner than you know and then you are going to have to live with the limitations you set for others. I know the accident sounded horrifying and is some ways it is but how many of you are going to get out of this alive. There didn’t get to be 6 billion people on this planet because it is so dangerous, you get an inflated and totally unfocused picture of the world when you view it through the press. As for the inflated rates insurance companies charge less than 25 year old males, that only reflects the accident rate caused by less than 25 year old males. If you want to apply additional regulations to the very worst drivers most of you are in the group that is going to have to live with the additional regulations because you are the most dangerous drivers not old people. Damn this was fun.

Garm, exatly, so there is no age discrimination if we are all headed into old age anyways. You can’t self-discriminate. I really hope that IF I live to be that old, there are rules in place that ensure that I am competent behind the wheel.

A few years a go I heard that a 19 year old girl was killed by an elderly person who drove the wrong way on a freeway for several kilometers in his Oldsmobile before hitting the girls Miata head-on.

I am strongly for the testing of the elderly. But for the reasons BostonBarrister explained, it would take some celebrity’s infant getting mashed into the grill before there’s enough of a public outcry to make younger voters show up at the polls.

On another fun note: Colorado has gone to the 10 year renewal plan. Yup, one license and one photo now last you 10 years. Gee, how much can a person change in 10 years?! Photo ID will be meaningless. Thank god I’ve got a good pic on mine, at least.

I’ve always said that there should be mandatory yearly driving tests for citizens once they reach the age of 65 (at most). And everyone else should be tested at least every five years, if not even every two or three. It’s absurd to think that once you have passed the test at 16, you never have to take it again. I’m not sure about other states, but that’s how it is here in Kentucky.

damn ~karma~ i never even noticed that on my licence. i’m glad that i have atleast a fairly good picture of me on it. i wonder why they are doing that here? i’ll be 31 before my next pic.

I feel the same as most of you do. Thanks for all of the replies.


Really can’t see where you’re coming from unless your in your late 50’s early 60’s.

Yeah, I’ll be at that age, later rather than sooner, and if there was a law in place to help make sure that I don’t run down and kill one of my grandchildren or anyone else for that matter, I’d think that was a GOOD thing.

I mean, who knows what mental or physical faculties I may lose between now and then. By that time I may not know what I’m doing, but I know that I wouldn’t want it to be that.