2013/17: Should special conditions be imposed on elderly Victorian motorists?
Introduction to the media issueVideo clip at right:
a clip from a 2011 film, Old People Driving is shown by the American Public Broadcasting Service. It shows two elderly drivers with opposing attitudes to handing in their licences. .
What they said...
''We know as soon as we take away a licence from an older person that it has immediate health consequences, We really have to be really sure we have made the right decision.'
Dr Judith Charlton, Monash University Accident Research Centre.
"Personally, I think all drivers over the age of 60 should have to re-take a test at least every five years."
'Mark H', writing in the UK website, The Weekly Gripe
The issue at a glance
In July, 2013, a spate of accidents involving drivers aged over 75 resulted in calls for more rigorous testing of Victoria's older motorists.
In just over a week, drivers aged between 75 and 91 caused three major accidents, which included one fatality and much damage to cars and other property. In one case, an 83-year-old allegedly mistook the accelerator for the brake while in a supermarket car park.
At the moment, Victoria is the only Australian state without compulsory restrictions on elderly drivers. While family, friends, doctors and even the elderly themselves are urged to report driving problems to VicRoads, such reporting is not a legal requirement.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton has urged that Victoria follow the example of other states. "I think we need to have some uniformity around the nation," Mr Hambleton said.
However, Mark King, a senior lecturer in behaviourial science, has written that "... even the oldest age groups of drivers have lower crash rates than our youngest drivers". Mr King's research indicates that older, experienced drivers compensate for their limitations by driving more carefully.