Killers On The Loose – The Case For A Senior Citizen’s Driving Test
A good friend should be quick to point out that there’s something stuck in your teeth, accompanied by the common indicative statement “Dude, you got something right here.” Similarly, a good nation should be quick to point out to old timers that they can’t drive worth a damn, accompanied by the indicative statement “Excuse me sir, you almost killed somebody.”
I work freelance, which means I’m often out during the day. To be even more specific, I operate a deck staining business, which obviously runs in concurrence with sunlight. You would think that the roads would be more tolerable between the hours of 9 and 5, but this is actually a time of great distress.
When workers are locked to their desks, terrible drivers come out to play. Phalanxes of slow-moving cars run rampant, seemingly in a multi-lane coordinated agreement to block people with any urgent need to get somewhere. Whenever I manage to thread through these aggravating arrangements, I’m always sure to look over and identify the culprit(s). 80% of the time it’s a senior citizen. By their squinting visage and forward-leaning intensity you would think they’re driving through a hellacious snowstorm, but it’s rarely the case…they’re just too old to drive, and nobody has relinquished their right to wheels.
Besides my sense of entitlement and bitchy attitude, is there a basis for removing these pensioned pilots? Luckily, there is. Upon thorough and highly-motivated research, I was able to come up with too many reasons why the only motorized vehicle a senior should steer is a Rascal Scooter.
- They crash – which kills either them or someone else.
- They get lost.
- Too slow to react to unexpected things like other cars, deer, Pokémon Go players.
- Poor eyesight (can’t see road signs, medians, or the my thumbs down).
- Too slow to properly move feet between gas and brake.
- Poor health and medical conditions could leave them incapacitated behind the wheel.
- Too stiff in the neck to turn head to look around.
- Older men especially are rather irrational and prone to complain, which could lead to road rage.
- Fall asleep too easily (especially at night).
- Poor hearing, can’t hear nearby cars, horns or sirens.
- While any smartphone use is a danger while driving, old people’s inability to use them efficiently increase the risk of texting while driving or using GPS.
- Poor strength means they can’t turn the wheel enough to turn efficiently or stay in their lane.
- Forgetfulness and poor hearing leads to turn signals staying on, endangering other drivers and pedestrians.
- Poor flexibility makes fully pressing the gas pedal or brake more difficult.
- Bad memory leads to parking tickets which can get costly.
- Chronic joint and/or body pains can make driving more difficult as well as be a distraction.
- Typically old people take many medications which can leave them drowsy.
- Poor bladder control can lead to distracted and rushed driving.
- Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness.
- High use of creams, lotions and vaseline leads to slippery hands with less control on the steering wheel.
Now, I know you just read the phrase “High use of creams,” but please try and stay focused on the issue at hand: seniors would rather hold on to their freedom than not kill us all with their dangerous driving.
I’m here to propose a mandatory driving test for everybody 65 and older, and I think that’s being nice. If you think I’m being a bratty bastard, you’re not exactly wrong, but just know (and you can cite this article in 30 years as proof) that I will gladly give up my keys if I can’t pass a driving test. First of all, I don’t want to kill people, and second, I know how to Uber.
When one door closes (in this case, the driver’s side door for anyone with severe arthritis), another’s supposed to open, meaning, there should at least be some proposed solutions mass-crankiness that’s sure to ensue from old folk losing their license. Here’s a few…
- Classes that teach seniors how to use a smartphone (For Uber and Postmates use)
- A government-sanctioned Uber-like service to take senior citizens around to run errands and re-screenings of classics like Gone With The Wind
- Go-Kart parks that can only be used by senior citizens who miss the feel of a steering wheel
With every word I feel like I’m begging to be hit by a retiree so I’m going to bring this article to a close. If nothing else, I hope this article causes many to have a serious talk with their parents and/or grandparents.
Think of your safety, your insurance premiums, and by God, think of the children. Every senior that’s removed from the road is a win for all.
Jeff Nelson is a Kansas City comedian and likely going to hell. You can follow him on Twitter @JeffreyPNelson