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Still think old people shouldn’t have to take special driver exams?

old-driver.jpgEvery few years, there’s a story of some batty old person who has no business driving causing mayhem behind the wheel. The most vivid in my recollection is from a few years ago, where some old dude plowed through the Santa Monica farmer’s market, killing several people, including a little girl. Fucking sad.

This story, while coming to a less sad conclusion, is no less disturbing. Late last month, a 73-year-old attorney was hit with charges stemming from an incident last December. The old fucker “drove through a construction barricade outside his favorite restaurant in Mill Valley and drove up Highway 101 with a Caltrans worker clinging to the hood of his Mercedes Benz.”

[Witnesses] followed the Mercedes as it exited at the Seminary Drive exit, where two drivers blocked the car long enough for Ramsey to jump off the hood, unscathed. The Mercedes then continued on the Redwood Highway frontage road, followed by witnesses.
The CHP arrived and found the Mercedes parked outside Buchanan’s law office at 591 Redwood Highway. When they went inside to question him, they found him at his desk, eating his lunch, Ziegenbein said.
“He said that there was a crazy guy on his hood and he told him to get off,” Ziegenbein said.

(Hat tip to reader Anthony)

| Comments (10)


If there's one legal issue that hits close to home, this is it. I'm named for an aunt I never got to meet because an 84-year-old man who didn't think he was too blind and deaf to drive ran her down. She was pregnant and pushing a stroller with my cousin in it at the time. The old man didn't know he hit her until people started banging on his windows. If you needed to cite a case in support of annual driver's tests for people over 70, that would do nicely, wouldn't it?

This has happened three times in the past year in my town. First time, 90 year old drove through the window of a local jewelers, second time 85 year old hit the accelerator and show through the window of Panera (11 people injured) and then a 90 year old went though a mjor intersection hitting a light pole just feet from where a grade school class was crossing the road on a field trip. Something has to be done. They're changing the relicensing requirements in Illinois because of this but there's no real way to test whether a person will hit the accelerator instead of the brake when under pressure.

I was JUST discussing this topic with my mother. Yesterday my brother's girlfriend's 91 year old grandfather drove into the wrong side of the road and caused a head-on collision. He broke both legs, both hips, is currently in a coma and not expected to survive, and the man he hit is in critical condition. I absolutely think that once you hit a certain age you should be required to prove you are still mentally and physically capable of driving.

The argument that will be used by the AARP is that the number of people hurt by people over the age of say 65, is nothing compared to the number of people hurt or killed by say, people younger than 21. Of course the sats can be heavily manipulated to support either view, that old people are a danger, or that they aren't at all. What bothers me is that the number of drivers over the age of 65 is a lot smaller than the number under the age of 18. To make comparisons between the two is dubious. The entire point of all this is that I should be the only person allowed on the road. And my car should have machine guns to blow anyone away that gets too close.

Young people have a lot more accidents, but they are new to driving and developing experience along the way (hopefully not killing anyone we care about in the process). Old people on the other hand have learned how to drive and are experienced, they just don't have the wherewithal mentally (sometimes) or in terms of motor skills (always impaired after a certain age) to operate a large mechanical vehicle safely. There is a reason why there is a mandatory retirement age for pilots and such.

I used to work in a cardiology office which, you can imagine, had mostly ederly patients. The thought of some of them driving was terrifying. There was one woman who only had ONE EYE and she still drove.

"And my car should have machine guns..."

I think this is something that we can all agree on, regardless of age.

Wow, I think I exactly know where this happened. Used to live in Marin County till 2000. People there are generally a bad driver, but, men, that is pretty bad.

There really should be a mandatory testing after certain age as much as there need to be a better public transportation all around for old folks to get around.

My husband was hit last week by an 80+ year old driver who had failed to see a stop sign. He hit my husband going over 45 miles an hour. The sad thing is, hitting my husband probably was for the best because there wasn't any road to go strait through, he would have driven off the road and dropped about fifteen feet to a parking lot.

There becomes a point where the elderly do not belong on the road, luckily my husband drives a very safe car and was fine, but it was a very serious accident caused by someone who didn't belong behind a wheel. And ironically, hitting my husband probably saved his life.

This sounds horrible, but I'm in my twenties, so I can say it (?). I joke with my friends that when teenagers get into accidents they tend to run into a tree or injure themselves and their passengers; horrible, but four people injured tops. When 90 year-olds get into accidents it seems that they crash spectacularly, mowing down pedestrians, driving through windows... I seriously don't think that requiring a 90 year-old to take a driving test again is age discrimination anymore so than having driving restrictions on teens.