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Letter: Test elderly drivers to ensure capability

Test elderly drivers to ensure capability

People drive through storefronts all the time, right? Wrong! Last week, a 90-year-old woman accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and crashed into the patio at Kostas Restaurant on Hertel Avenue. Fortunately, nobody was on that side of the patio at the time of the incident.

Fact: The elderly and teenagers cause or contribute to the most automobile accidents. If teenagers need to pass a written and real-life driving test, why shouldn’t the elderly have to do the same? As one ages, cognition and reaction time become much slower than the average healthy adult. While tragedy is lurking around every corner, sometimes split-second decision-making is needed to avoid disaster.

At what point does a relative stand up for everybody else on the road and protest against an elderly family member driving? Should New York State intervene at a certain age to make sure elderly drivers are physically and mentally fit for driving? If so, how often should elderly people be tested? These are some of the many questions lawmakers should be asking themselves to promote overall well-being and safety on the roads.

Driving is a privilege, not a right, and therefore only competent and capable people should be behind the wheel. New York State should have some type of physical and real-life testing for elderly drivers.

Lawrence Glaser

Town of Tonawanda