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Elderly Drivers - Essay Example

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Standardized screening of older drivers is a necessity due to the subjectivity of current self-report methods in the USA. Research continuously shows that empirical, systematic testing as occurs with standardized tests provides consistent, valid, more accurate results as compared to subjective methods…
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Elderly Drivers
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Download file to see previous pages Such as the requirement of a certificate of health from the family doctor at an arbitrary age, and subsequent re-assessment every two years or so, that occurs in Wiley [name the state]. Also, drawing on cross-cultural methods of subjective and standardized testing can provide further insights into what is required. For example, in New Zealand there is a combination of testing. Regular medical testing of people over 70 years takes place along with a driving test at two-yearly intervals after the age of 76. (Wolffelaar 151)
The pioneers of motor transport did not foresee that driving would become such a universal and accessible skill. Indeed one of them, Carl Benz, thought that the market for the motor car would be limited. However, present day rising proportions of older people who drive has increased their involvement in road accidents. Longitudinal data from the USA illustrate the startling growth in the proportion of elderly drivers. For instance, in Wiley only 5.9% of drivers were over 60 in 1940, but this proportion rose to 7.4% in 1952 and to 11.4% in 1960. Point-prevalence figures show that there were approximately 14.4 million drivers over 65 years of age in the USA in 1983, and nearly 3 million over the age of 60 in the US in 1990. If present trends continue well over a third of drivers on US roads will be aged over 55 years by 2050. (Klamm, 87)
The shift in demographics of driver age is important because the number of crashes and the severity of injuries by distance driven rise alarmingly after the age of 65, and resemble figures for 15-25-year-old people. The elderly are also more likely to die in car accidents; if pedestrians are included, motor accidents involving the elderly are the second most common cause for their admission to US emergency rooms and of accidental death. Although some commentators have suggested that the absolute risk of elderly drivers having accidents remains small, they tend to overlook the expected increase in the number of elderly drivers. Further accident statistics do not take into account modified driving practices, such as reduced mileage and avoidance of night driving, which likely confound the findings. (Klamm, 87)
Ultimately, the US legislate against two of the dominant factors involved in road accidents: speeding and alcohol consumption (both associated with a third factor, inexperienced youth). It is contended here that the scrutiny of risk factors associated with motor crashes in the elderly is less intense.
Difficulty may arise in convincing elderly drivers to submit to standardized tests, given that they and their families may be hesitant to risk the elder driver losing a primary mode of independence. However, it is both desirable and feasible to identify factors which place elderly people most at risk of driving accidents, and to ensure greater public safety on US roads. (Waller 65)
Works Cited
Klamm ER. Auto insurance: needs and problems of drivers 55 and over: Needs and Problems of Older Drivers: Falls Church, VA: AAA Foundation for Road Safety, 1985: p87
Shank GD. Qualitative Research: A Personal Skills Approach. Columbus, Merrill/Prentice Hall. 2002: 23
Wolffelaar PC. Age Differences in Divided Attention in a Simulated Caving Task: J ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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