Proposed law to eliminate tests for older drivers

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
By Yokota Fritz

Apparently, old people in the District of Columbia have a hard time passing their driving tests. So Washington, D.C. council member Jim Graham has introduced a bill to eliminate written and road tests for drivers who are 75 years old and older. "It does pose a real burden for older drivers, whom I've heard from in great numbers," Graham said, discussing the written and road tests.

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Totally a political move. It's fairly obvious to anyone who has to ride around senior citizens who drive (and can't pass their tests) that there's a reason they can't pass their tests: THEY SHOULDN'T BE DRIVING!

Now, to be fair, that's not the case for every senior citizen. And cars tend to go too fast and impatiently, as we as cyclists all know. This most certainly plays a part in senior citizens' driving problems. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taking the tests!

Let's look at it this way: not everyone in the world is good at the subjects on the SAT. So should the SAT be removed as a requirement to apply for college?
nice analogy jamie. i agree completely. i was sitting outside the funeral home before my grandmother's funeral watching people (read:old people) park and saw six seperate collisions; car-car, car-sign, etc. One elderly couple simply drove away after hitting a car and a sign and I didn't see them at the funeral. what a rediculous idea.
Maybe Mr. Graham is onto something. I have heard from drunks in great numbers that those road side sobriety tests are “a real burden” too. OK, fine, it is not the same thing, but people like Mr. Graham need to realize that driving is a privilege not a right. I do feel for elderly citizens who cannot get around when they reach a certain age due to the fact that our built environment is scaled toward the motorcar, but I think that there are more intelligent ways to address the problem. Endangering all road users for the convenience of some is a very poor solution to the problem.

A guy that I used to race with was killed a few years ago when a man in his 80s ran into the paceline that he was a part of. This accident occurred on a country road with no other cars around and the driver claimed that he just did not see the four riders that he plowed into. I am sure that was an accident and that the drivers felt terrible about it, but the simple fact is that if he couldn’t see 4 adults on bicycles, he should not have been behind the wheel.
I have a feeling that this will be a political move that kicks back on Mr. Graham. Too many people (myself included) have known people injured or killed by elderly drivers. Whether or not their age was a significant factor is beside the point - the public will (I hope) be appalled at the idea.
Sue, did you live in Champaign County in 1995 when Jerry Keiper was killed? He was a brilliant mathematician at Wolfram who refused to take more than a small salary because he didn't want to pay taxes toward the U.S. military.

He was cycling up Prospect Avenue in Champaign when an old guy with bad vision ran Jerry over. The old guy didn't even stop because he thought he just hit a bump in the road or something. Jerry was a great guy and is missed.
I'm thinking that this could apply in a lot of other places, too. For instance, I'd like to be a United States Senator 'cause the hours are good and the job just has to be easy! I mean, look at our senators from Oklahoma, Inhofe and Coburn! How hard could it be?

But I don't have a law degree and it's almost a universal for higher government jobs. So I shouldn't have to take those pesky LSATs. I shouldn't have to pass a bar exam either.

I've toyed with the idea of becoming a nuclear engineer, a brain surgeon, or a rocket scientist too.
So many things are burdens!!! Remove them all!! Cars are burdens...

I didn't know the circumstances of Jerry Keiper's accident - but I knew a brilliant Wolfram guy had been killed cycling on Prospect one night. (People like to tell me that when they find out I cross Prospect.)

I had a satisfactory session with an animal control person on the phone; she asked if I had gone by the same place as I was bitten today. You know, as if somebody might... as if that were not weird.
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