Editorial was alarmist

June 21, 2014

Your June 15 editorial regarding older adult drivers was an example of unwarranted alarmism. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that, per miles traveled, fatal crash rates after age 80 are largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes. In 2012, more than 77 percent of older drivers and passengers involved in fatal crashes were wearing seat belts, compared to 63 percent of other occupants aged 18 to 64, and only 5 pecent of older drivers in fatal crashes were impaired by alcohol, as opposed to 25 percent of those between the ages of 21 and 64 years.

Also, older people tend to limit their driving during bad weather and at night and drive fewer miles than younger people.

Some older drivers are a problem, but to suggest there is an epidemic is not reasonable or fair to most older adults, and your criticism of state lawmakers is unfounded. Pennsylvania already has a law which requires all doctors and others authorized to diagnose or treat disorders and disabilities to report to PennDOT the name of any person 15 years of age or older having a condition that could impair his or her ability to safely operate a vehicle. That gives PennDOT the ability to remove these drivers from the road. Legislating personal responsibility is absurd.

Finally, I didn’t know that people running into buildings was such an issue. The laws to which you refer are only applicable after those who are drunk or being chased by police have done their damage, and I bet almost none of them are older.

Bob Willison

Rices Landing


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