Should Older Drivers Be ReTested?
Last week an elderly driver lost control of her car and drove into the Liquor Store in the Concordia Shopping Center. Before I offer my opinion on whether or not there should be restrictions on older drivers let me make a few things clear.
- I'm 70 years old and live in one of the senior communities in Monroe.
- I'm also a Traffic Engineer and have extensive experience in analyzing accident data
- My daughter, riding as a passenger in my car, has threatened more than once to take away my keys. (I like to think she was kidding)
- My car has been hit twice by elderly motorists backing out of a parking space in the Concordia Shopping Center.
The idea of restricting a person's ability to drive based on age is a third rail of politics, no one in the legislature wants to touch it for fear of their political life. However, one thing has become clear to me. With advances in medicine over the past few decades more and more people are outliving their ability to drive safely. Aging generally results in impairment to vision, cognition and motor function all important aspects of driving. Statistically older drivers have a higher crash risk than middle aged adults, rivaling that of 17 - 23 year old drivers.
In order to address this issue, many states have enacted laws that contain specific licensing requirements for older drivers but, not New Jersey. 33 States have special provisions for mature drivers. These include one or more of the following:
- Accelerated renewal frequency
- Restriction of online or mailed renewals requiring individuals to appear in person
- Vision test
- Road test
I won't pretend to know the best solution for this problem. However, I do believe that it's time for New Jersey's legislature to address an issue that affects not only the elderly but every driver on the road. In discussing the issue with friends or neighbors I often hear them say "I know I can't drive like I used to, but I only drive locally".
Well I drive locally too and I'd like to feel safe when I go to the Liquor Store in Concordia to buy a bottle of wine. I need the wine to help me forget that my daughter wants to take away my keys.
Car Drives Into Liquor Store
I was pleasantly surprised to see business as usual at the Liquor Store in the Concordia Shopping Center. Yesterday when I visited the store I was greeted by Police, Fire and Rescue Squad all dealing with a car that had just driven into the side of the store. An elderly driver had managed to jump the curb and travel about 100 feet through dirt and grass before hitting the side of the Liquor Store. While I've avoided editorializing on this site it may be time to have a frank discussion about when is the proper time to stop driving. I will publish my thoughts on the subject on Monday.
Monroe Board of Ed to See Changes
With 2 current board members not seeking re-election coupled with the departure of Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton significant changes can be expected at the Board of Education. Both Ken Chiarella and Amy Antelis have decided not seek another term. The election will be held on November 4th.
Board President Kathy Kolupanowich is running to retain her seat while six other individuals will join the battle for the three available positions. New candidates include Steven Riback, Louis C. Masters, George Tatoris, Richard Gibbons, Frank Russo and Jill Demaio.
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