IT has been suggested by a leading road safety researcher that elderly drivers should be required to display S-plates on their vehicles and that pharmacists should also visit elderly drivers at home to make sure their medications are not impairing their ability to drive safely. This has caused an uproar among certain seniors groups.
Admittedly many older people are still very good drivers and should not be discriminated against. But my late father suffered a condition that severely impaired his sight. His optometrist was aware of the deterioration of his sight but still signed a paper enabling him to keep driving – because ‘‘his general health was good’’. The then RTA (now RMS) was also aware of his problem but still allowed him to drive within a 10-kilometre radius of his home. I actually rang the RTA to voice my deep concerns that my father was still driving, because I had noticed an alarming decline in his driving skills. I will never forget the response I received from them: ‘‘The RTA is not in the business of taking driving licences off old people.’’ Dad kept driving.
On the other hand, my late father-in-law, when he was in his 70s, realised that he was no longer capable of driving safely and without any fuss handed his licence in, sold his car and accepted that his driving days were over.
All drivers, young and old, need to be more responsible when it comes to getting behind the wheel.
Margaret Priest, Wallsend