Driving is a privilege, but it is also an important means to independence for many adults.
It has been noted that older drivers will, on average. have more accidents for mile driven compared to other groups of adults.
The Law Commission of Ontario notes that there has been recurrent debate as to whether age should be a trigger for additional driver’s license requirements.
For example, "Ontario’s Senior Driver Renewal Program requires drivers aged 80 years and over to take part every two years in a group education session and to complete vision and knowledge tests. Based on individual assessment, some drivers may also be asked to take a road test to have their in-car skills assessed. Some have suggested that older drivers should be required to take a regular road test, while others have argued that age by itself is not an appropriate indicator or driving skills, and that either all drivers should be regularly re-tested, or that re-testing should be based on specific functional indicators." (1) Is this fair?
Driving in the context of aging raises many legal, social, ethical and policy issues, including for example:
Research and Policy
Law and Ethics
Senior Citizen Driving: Warning Signs and Helping an Unsafe Driver to Stop Driving. T. Benedictis, G. Kemp, D. Russell & M, White.
- Description: Identifies risk factors of aging that affect safe driving; warning signs of unsafe driving; and steps to take if you are concerned about the safety of a senior driver. Offers references and resources for helping an unsafe senior to stop driving.
Senior Driver Renewal Program, Ontario Ministry of Transportation
- Description: The Senior Driver Renewal Program requires that senior drivers, aged 80 years and over, pay the applicable licensing fee, complete a vision test and a knowledge test and take part in a group education session every two years. A small number of drivers may also be asked to take a road test to have their in-car skills assessed
Senior Drivers in Ontario http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/senior/
Senior Driver: Driving Safety Cycle http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycle.htm
SafeNY.com Senior Drivers and Aging
- In "Driver Retesting — A Possible Solution??" explains why mandatory retesting of older drivers isn't done.
- Identifies "Adjustments Older Drivers Can Make to Remain Mobile".
- And covers Power Point Presentations from the 2008 World Traffic Safety Symposium. This includes "Engineering Countermeasures to Accommodate Older Drivers" - Federal Highway Administration and "Planning for Continuing Mobility for Older Highway Users" - Penn State
Research and Academic Articles & Reports
CANDRIVE: Canadian older drivers research www.candrive.ca/en/about/what_candrive.asp
Laliberte Rudman, D. Friedland, J., Chipman, M., & Sciortino, P. (2006) "Holding On and Letting Go: The Perspective of Pre-Seniors and Seniors on Driving Self-Regulation in Later Life" Canadian Journal on Aging 25(1), 65-76.
Marshall, S. Assessing fitness to drive in older driver. Canadian Medical Association. Online: www.cma.ca/multimedia/CMA/Content_Images/Inside_cma/WhatWePublish/LeadershipSeries/English/pg33EC.pdf
Millar, W. J. (Autumn, 1999) "Older Drivers – A Complex Public Health Issue" Health Reports, Vol. 11 No. 2, (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Cat 82-003)
Online : www.statcan.ca/english/studies/82-003/archive/1999/hrar1999011002s0a05.pdf
Tuokko, H. & Hunter, F. (2002) Using "Age" as a Fitness to Drive Criterion for Older Adults (Ottawa: Law Commission of Canada).
Tuokko, H. & McGee, P. (Nov. 2002) Improving Driving Conditions for Older Adults. Prepared for the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission. Online: ww.coag.uvic.ca/documents/research_reports/ImprovingDrivingConditions.pdf
Footnote: (1) Law Commission of Ontario. The Law as it Affects Older Adults - Backgrounder. Online: http://www.lco-cdo.org/en/documents/OlderAdultsMay08/oabackgrounder.html