When should you give up driving?

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 11:05

As you get older, it’s becoming more and more difficult to move from place to place if you do not have a vehicle. However, just like we know that it is generally old people who are in need of transportation, we also know that they are the ones most likely to get into an accident. 

Studies done at the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety in Queensland (CARRS-Q) have found that along with age, drivers and pedestrians alike become more fragile. They have concluded that in 2014, at least 21% of the fatal accidents were caused by Australian drivers in their senior years, who were older than 65 years old. So, taking this into account, how can we know that it’s time to stop driving?

Chances of Accidents Increase with Age

CARRS-Q came to the conclusion that once you reach a certain stage of maturity, you’re less likely to get into accidents due to inexperience on the road. However, while a person might still have his/her driving knowledge at the age of 60, their health starts to deteriorate. Most of the accidents were caused by old Aussies who suddenly felt ill at the wheel or simply failed to see in traffic.

With the population continuously ageing, it has been reported that there are more than 419,650 drivers in Victoria that are passed the age of 70 (around 10%), and about 58 people over the age of 100 who are still allowed to drive. An article published by the Monash University states that by 2051, the number of 65-year-old drivers in Australia will rise to 24.2%, as opposed to the 11.1% recorded in 2001. According to government figures, the Aussies are only getting healthier! Since the stats are continuously growing, how do we know when it’s time to let go of the keys?

Driving Requirements for Safety

Each state has made their own requirements for drivers over 65. While each law may be different, they are all similar in the fact that every driver over that certain age is required to go through an annual medical review. These will check them for eyesight, hearing, spatial awareness, reaction time and the other skills necessary for driving. If the doctor allows them to drive, then they are safe to go on the road.

There are many other issues that can disrupt the ability to drive. Things like the weather conditions, the driver’s medical health, long drives that may affect the reactions (i.e. road rage) and mental awareness – these can all affect the ability to drive safely on the Australian roads.

While there is no actual age requirement to stop you from driving, your self-awareness can prevent you from causing an accident. Aussies will have to go through periodical medical checks, testing their mental and physical health. When you are faced with conditions that might put a strain on your ability to drive, you might want to change the driver’s seat for the passenger’s seat.

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