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Science in the News: Should Old People be Allowed to Drive

In this essay, I will answer the question: ‘should old people be allowed to drive’ with an unbiased viewpoint. Older adults should be allowed to drive, however, to a certain age. If you are aged 60-74, you have a 1.56 out of 5 (31.2%) chance of crashing; however, if you are aged 75+, you have a 4.73 out of 5 (94.6) chance you will crash! [4] Suggesting that up to 74, the elderly driver is suitably on the road, but after that, they will cause jeopardy across British roads. Also, they are experienced drivers and have usually had over 30 years of practice. Studies show that per 100,000 causalities, 16-29-year-olds had more causalities (26) than drivers older than 70 (18) [1].

16-year-olds are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers [3], showing us that younger people are more vulnerable to having a car crash. Senior citizens sometimes are told to go on public transport instead of driving a car. However, this is unsuitable for them as it is not convenient and doesn’t get them everywhere they want to, as buses only go to main locations. Also, older adults may feel intimidated on a bus because of teenagers and loud noises; they feel more secure in a privately owned car. From an economic point of view, the elderly must drive a car because this provides extra money to the government because of road tax. 9% of the population are elderly [8], and if we stopped them driving, the government would make less money. Also, petrol stations would make less money as the elderly aren’t purchasing petrol.

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Older adults would feel awkward talking to friends and family on a bus and might feel that they’re being listened to. So they might feel more comfortable speaking in private. If an older adult bought a car, money would go to car cleaners, factories, and car dealers, positively affecting the local economy. Bus journeys usually take an alternative route to the customer so that they can go to various bus stops; this can take longer than a car, and could use up more petrol as the older adult may have just wanted to take a 2-mile journey, but ended up having to travel 5 miles because of alternative routes. Also, buses are sometimes seen as dirty and unhygienic.

However, older adults shouldn’t be able to drive because poor eyesight is very common with older adults, so they could likely cause a collision on the road, as it is hard to judge distance. Furthermore, if all older adults had a car, it would add to the greenhouse effect as more Co2 is being added to the carbon dioxide blanket, so if they save money but not buying petrol, they will not be adding to global warming. Also, it is proven that you have slower reactions as you grow older [2], so it is more likely that the older driver won’t swerve out of the way of a car quick enough. ‘Studies show that 75% of crashes, the older driver were the cause,’ [9] clearly shows us that older drivers are a health hazard. Finally, it is much more sociable going on a bus as you can talk with people you wouldn’t usually interact with.

‘Drivers aged 75 or above are at risk of a car crash more than any other age group’ [4] because they have a slower reaction time, loss of clarity in vision and hearing, not a strong and flexible and use of medication can make them unfit to drive. Vision deterioration is also a main cause of car crashes among older adults. Changing focus becomes difficult [4], colours become harder to detect, and peripheral vision deteriorates. A report was completed, and it showed us that senior citizens caused a shocking 18% of all pedestrian fatalities and 13% of all road fatalities [10], clearly showing us that senior citizens alone jeopardize our safety. If more people drive on our roads, they will be eroded quicker, and the council will have to spend more money out of their funds to re-tap it. Also, drivers are sometimes marked ‘fit to drive’ but are clearly not. [6]

I believe most of my data is reliable but sometimes outdated. For example, source 10 was created in 1997, and it could be the case that the statistics have changed slightly. However, I used an armoury of different sources, so we have an unbiased debate. For example, source 4 was created in 2009. I do believe that some of my data could be unreliable as they have come from unofficial websites. Still, some data came from official websites such as source number 9 (UK police) and source number 5 (insurance information institute.) Some sources, such as source 1, said that teenagers caused more fatalities, but others, such as source 4, said Older drivers caused more accidents. So it’s hard to judge which is the reliable data. To conclude, I would say older adults should stop driving after 75. However, you can retake your test and do a mandatory driving test. I believe that if you’re still driving and haven’t taken a mandatory driving test, you are putting British citizens in grave danger, as ‘drivers aged 70 and older are three times as likely to be killed or seriously injured.’ [7]

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Science in the News: Should Old People be Allowed to Drive. (2021, Sep 03). Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/science-in-the-news-should-old-people-be-allowed-to-drive/