Monday, January 28, 2008

Testing Times on the Road Ahead

Here's a topic from today's papers that is bund to provoke controversy among those of us who drive in Thanet.

"Drivers intending to stay behind the wheel well into old age may have to pass exams proving they are mentally up to it.

Ministers want to ban anyone over 75 who does not pass the exams and they will insist that drivers repeat the series of IQ tests every five years if they want to stay on the road.

The new barriers to elderly motorists will also include an eyesight exam, but they will not have to re-take their practical driving test."

Drivers over the age of 55 take 22 per cent longer to react compared with those under 30 - adding about 25ft to their stopping time at 70mph.

Separate research by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency shows that only one in ten drivers of any age with a "notifiable" condition, such as epilepsy or heart problems, actually admits to it on the form."

In 1975, elderly motorists constituted fewer than one in six drivers on the road, but by 2004 it was nearly half.

On a personal note, I find driving in Thanet considerably more dangerous than flying and I tend to avoid using my motorcycle as much as possible these days after one too many narrow escapes.

What's your view. Should drivers be tested for mental alacrity at a certain age and what metric of acceptable IQ range should be considered as a pass mark.


Mr Friday said...

I have certainly seen more young people do stupid things on the road than older people.

I think there should be IQ tests for all road users and have a device fitted to all cars which automatically prevents the car from starting if the driver is wearing a baseball cap, flat cap or has a straw-boater in the parcel shelf.

Anonymous said...

When some older drivers get things wrong like driving along motorways the wrong way, they do so spectacularly! It is a rare event; most older drivers are careful, defensive and cautious. The Motor Insurance industry has the real figures for the worst drivers including age and sex on our roads and this is reflected in insurance premiums charged. The most expensive premium range is for young men between the ages of 17 and 24. We are fast becoming a nasty ageist society where there is an automatic assumption that the old are senile and doddery and should be kept off the road. Most serious accidents are not caused by drugs, alciohol or tiredness but by excessive speed either illegal speeds or inappropriate for the road conditions. We make our roads safer when we control speeding and the worst offenders in this category are not the elderly.

James Maskell said...

Anon 9:59 has a point. I find older drivers drive much slower than other drivers, very much because of their lower reaction times.

I see there has been another car crash at the Victoria Lights. From the looks of it, the driver couldnt work out (coming out of Beatrice) whether to turn right onto Ramsgate Road (going towards WC) or to go straight ahead up College Road, instead going into the fence where the tributes to John Living have been (outside the Victoria Pub).

I know that KCC is looking into the issue of the traffic system round the school, but it would be nice to see more urgency. Theyve been looking into this for a very, very long time now.

Michael Child said...

More legislation, for the sake of legislation based stupid statistics being a good driver is mostly about knowing ones limitations and driving within them, something one is more likely to do over 30 than under.

I think the main reason that I had fewer accidents as a young car driver than most of my contemporaries was that I started as a motorcyclist, commuting to work in all weathers on a powerful motorbike where one is not isolated from the road conditions, teaches one a lot about ones own limitations.

I think that if there were to be any legislation that would significantly reduce accidents it would be a power limitation on cars one could drive for the first 5 years after passing the driving test.

Anonymous said...

Well thats really clever thinking. The Police are so thinly strectched that they can't enforce most of the current laws. Instead of debating this idea, perhaps we should be asking where all our Police have gone!

Mr Friday said...

Only yesterday I saw a driver of a TDC white van down Margate Road pulling off into the traffic whilst jabbering away on a mobile. You would think they had a moral role in setting an example to the rest of us. I know TDC's budgets aren't the best but thought they would stretch to a handsfree set or two.

anon again! said...

anon again!
Being pacemakered and getting on, I am in total agreement with taking a re-test at say every 2 years.
On the understanding of course, that everybody else has to do the same re-test every 2 years.
You cannot pick on the old in particular. You can though pick on truck and van drivers, motorcyclists for being the main cause of MOST of the horrific RTA's on our roads today.
Test the main causes first, then OK, us oldies will gladly follow suit, I think.

anon again! said...

anon again!
Mr Friday....
You should/could have published the vans registration number here, then he would have sweat blood. But hey, that's the TDC attitude anyway >hypocrites<.
Don't let it worry you.

Anonymous said...

I think the old have a right to drive. Today, driving back through the fog on Shottendane Road, I passed four old drivers who'se eyesight was so good they did not need to put their lights on! The youngsters all did though!

James Maskell said...

Regarding my previous post, the crash was not just someone forgeting where the turning was. Ive heard that in fact it was a couple of cars shooting down the road like idiots and colliding. Sounded like it was much more than a bumper kiss. Booze probably involved. I understand they also damaged other vehicles in the area. Ambulances were sent to the area.

anon again! said...

anon again!
Mr Maskell 10:14
Were the racer's Boy Racer's, or Old Boy Racer's?