As a native New Yorker, I didn’t get into driving until late in my life; when my high school offered Driver’s Ed, I wasn’t interested.
Flash forward years later to Miami Beach, where my husband then worked (I tried to learn how to drive in NYC and failed — spectacularly — three times on the driving test). In Miami, the test consisted in any case of a block.
I remained a crappy and nervous driver the entire time we were in Florida. Postmen who wouldn’t stop for rain, snow, sleet or hail stopped dead in their tracks, mouths open, to see me parallel parking. Returning the car keys to return to New York was a breath of fresh air for me and the driving public.
I am in the minority. Younger people, study finds, are afraid to tell their parents to hand over their car keys more then they̵
The NIH has an extensive website about it (find it here) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has statistics here that are hopeful but still discouraging. After all, every time there’s a car accident involving an elderly person, the headline is “Driver, 78, involved in car accident.” Is that age discrimination?
No wonder there are some who think people over a certain age should have their keys taken away, period. States have also stepped up to monitor the driving skills of the elderly; for more information, the list is here.
What do you think? Is there age discrimination when it comes to older drivers – or is it common sense? Share your thoughts or experience in the comments!
Virge Randall is the editor-in-chief of Senior Planet. She’s also a freelance culture reporter looking for hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.