Over the years, young drivers are increasingly being accused of driving recklessly. In 2011, 22% of fatalities on Great Britain’s roads occurred in collisions involving a driver aged 17 to 24 years old. There is blame on technological gadgets such as mobile phones being the leading cause to these accidents, with teens texting or calling whilst driving. However with all the negative connotations associated with young, novice drivers, we tend to forget about older drivers.
A paper done by Nottingham Trent University suggests that older people have vision three times slower than younger people when required to cope with distractions. This should be taken into consideration in terms of reaction times when driving. Young drivers are often deemed to be more hazardous; with insurance companies charging younger drivers an average of £2,590 – three times more than the average cost.
Dealing with elderly drivers collisions is problematic in a personal sense. Only 10% of seniors want the government to tell them when their driving days are over, leaving 90% of the elderly to decide for themselves, or have family members make the decision for them. Driving is associated with independence and freedom and to have that taken away from someone is almost a wakeup call to acknowledging their loss of capabilities, as well as a question of their human rights.
The UK government don’t ask seniors still driving for a medical test, eye test or driving test, but instead rely on the individual’s judgement of their abilities. Whilst younger drivers may get distracted by showing off behind the wheel, older people also struggle with their own distractions.
Ultimately, whoever goes behind the wheel needs to consider their ability to drive and react to distractions on the road in a safe manner; for themselves, for their passengers, and for other road users.