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Start re-testing elderly drivers before someone’s killed

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

EDITORIAL: A curb, a building, an elderly driver who hits the gas instead of the brake. Sheer luck no one is hurt. But what if…?

The driver is 89. His elderly wife was beside him in the car.

Police said he was trying to parallel park his 2009 Hyundai on East Main Street in Ramsey when his foot slipped — at 1:30 Saturday afternoon.

In case anyone’s forgotten:

Crash raises elderly-driver question

Elderly driver crashes too common?
An elder’s decision, a loved one lost. Why?

It is past time for Trenton to respond. Must someone die before lawmakers figure out how to deal with over-aged drivers?

Step up, someone. Your responsibility is protecting the public you serve.

Do it.

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor

You pick the age. But require that elderly drivers, at least 65 and over, be re-tested every five years.

You don’t even need to get them into a car. Use a simulator.

Test reflexes, responses. Throw a few surprises into the test to gauge their reactions.

Stop ignoring the facts, just because we’ve been fortunate that no one’s been killed:

Age affects critical measures, including speed and distance — and, sometimes, judgment.

More importantly, reaction time lengthens.

Add in any medications someone may be taking and you’ve increased the negative odds even more.

Finally: The average vehicle weighs roughly 4,000 pounds. In case you forget your math: That’s TWO TONS.

It’s an emotional issue, this idea of individual freedom versus the risk to society.

But just because most planes land safely doesn’t mean that regulations aren’t enacted, or tweaked, to make the skies safer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

*The death rate per mile traveled for drivers over 85 is four times that of the 30-59 age group.

*They are also more likely to die in accidents. Their bodies are older, frailer.

*The only group more dangerous than senior citizens — statistically speaking — is teenagers.

Enough avoidance, state authorities. Do something BEFORE someone dies.

If you’re concerned about an elderly loved one — after hearing of another crash in North Jersey involving a senior citizen who lost control of a car — see: TIPSHEET: How to tell whether mom or dad can still drive

AAA has a quiz for drivers over 55. Go to , or call 407.444.7913 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 407.444.7913 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 407.444.7913 end_of_the_skype_highlighting . Also check out: .

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