Old Driver

Should Old People be Banned from Driving?

Back when I first started Automoblog.net, I wrote a post about the elderly and what restrictions should be placed on them regarding driving. Clearly this is an issue on the roads, and people had many opinions to share regarding the issue. I would like to revisit the post, and hear some more opinions regarding the matter.

In the time since that post was written, I’ve personally experienced more bad situations regarding the issue, and I’m sure many of my readers have as well.

Should elderly drivers be banned from driving? Many seem to think so. Motorinsurance.co.uk, an online insurance broker reported that 49% of drivers want elderly drivers banned. Paul Cosh is the managing director of MotorInsurance, and had a few comments on which I would like to comment:

“I do not think that picking on this nation’s most careful and experienced drivers is really the answer.

Yeah, my dad was awesome at football back in his day. He’s very experienced, that doesn’t mean he should still do it.

“To be honest, the views shown by this poll are quite shocking and simply do not stand up against the facts.

“Of course increased age brings its challenges, but healthy older drivers typically try to compensate for deficiencies. If anything, they also drive more carefully and avoiding risk-taking in general.

“To suggest that older drivers are a danger on the roads is a statistically unfounded stereotype and if anyone wants to debate the safety record of an 80 year-old compared with the average 20 year-old, my door is always open.”

The point is, I know for a fact that old people are a danger on the roads. I have seen many accidents (some involving people I know) that were caused by nothing but an incompetent old person not paying attention, and not having the reaction times necessary to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, making it worse.

Old Driver

Paul Cosh, who I quoted above is clearly an idiot, but banning old people from driving completely seems a little bit extreme. But what about people who can’t react in a timely manner, can’t make reasonable decisions, and can’t see or hear as well as other drivers? Allowing them on the road as freely as anybody else is as ridiculous as allowing drunk drivers on the road.

I’ve been in one accident and have otherwise had very close situations in which I had to make fast decisions as to what to do, and only one has been from a drunk driver. The others from old people who didn’t know what they were doing, and I would be surprised if they knew where they were. Disclaimer: I do not have anything against old people, and I hate drunk drivers. I don’t want you to take the last paragraph the wrong way. I just have a problem with old people driving.

So back to the solution. What to do? Like I said above, banning them all from the road completely is extreme, but allowing them all to drive is ridiculous. I propose that beginning at age 65 (maybe 70,) the driver takes a strict driving test every year. Obviously this will keep the dangerous ones off the road, and the competent ones can still drive.

A few states already implement something like this, like Rhode Island who requires drivers over 70 to renew their licenses every two years but take only the standard vision test. However, I think it should be more thorough. Illinois requires road tests for drivers over 75 who want to renew their licenses, while 15 other states have an accelerated renewal schedule. At least five states have stopped mail-in renewals for older drivers. But that’s obviously not enough.

What are your opinions on this? Do you think all people over a certain age should be banned, or do you think everybody should have the right to drive? What age should we start requiring testing, and how frequent should the testing be?

  1. So here’s my two cents… *steps up on soap box*

    Senior citizens are deserving of the road just as much as you or I. But just as I believe every teenager should go through driving tests (not this randomly selected by birthmonth BS) I believe that senior citizens should be subject to them.

    The eye-sight test at the DMV is not enough… and just because a senior, highschooler, middle aged man, etc etc can pass that test does NOT mean that they are fit for the road.

    I do believe that it is an issue that seniors should be tested; because theres a good ammount of them out there that do require testing in their driving skills. But just as I believe any one should have to do a driving test every two years or so, seniors should be subject to that.

    Lets face it, health degrades; unfortunately… and as health degrades, so does certain skills previously talked about. But that does not mean that every senior should be off of the road. Those who deserve to be off the road should be off the road. Test driving skills every two years on EVERYONE, including seniors, and if the driver fails for what ever reason, be it age or being an idiot, they don’t deserve to share the road with me outside of public transportation.

    *steps off of soapbox*

    There ya go guys.

  2. I agree in part. Driving test yes, every two years? I don't think so. I would say 5 is a more reasonable number. Let's not trade one problem for another. Dare I say it? Yes I must, the line at the DMV would be unbearable (even more so than the extent it already is).

    My main problem with seniors driving is their speed and slow turns. I don't really have a suggestion for a solution on the slow turns, but let's add a minimum speed limit to more area's. 10 below the speed limit sounds fine to me. You go 11 under and get a ticket.

    I always like to look on both sides of the coin so…. They have been paying taxes longer than we have so they own more road than I do. Most would probably get a better score on a driving test than I would, but be done an hour after me. It is a tough toss-up.

    *Congrats egon on the first anniversary*

  3. John & Fidelus: I agree with both of you, and Fidelus has a good point that 2 years might be too frequent, only because that would create more problem at the DMV.

    I also agree that there should be a minimum speed limit, although I think it should be more like 5mph; going too slow on the road creates a serious hazard, especially in high-traffic areas.

  4. first of all no NINETY FOUR YEAR OLD would leave a comment that immature on a website like this. so all of you should feel pretty dumb, haha way to go dumbass’ ! secondly, i do agree that if an elderly person is not able to make quick decisions as supposed to then they shouldnt be driving

  5. This is to Egon and Fidelus. You both are looking at the wrong issues here…

    1st: every two years is not extreme at all, I would rather stand in a line a few minutes longer if it meant safer drivers on the road. AND do you realize how much impact 2 years can have on an older person? A lot can change in those two years, especially if they have Alzheimers.

    2nd: the fact that older people drive slow is not the main safety issue, I'm not saying it's not a safety issue, I am just saying it's not the main one. And fyi policemen DO give out tickets for driving too slow. Research first, THAN act like you know what you're talking about. But anyways the main issues with older drivers are when they switch lanes with no warning, and when they stop suddenly when driving in front of you, or when they react too late and rear end you.

  6. Jo, I don't understand your comment. You said I'm looking at the wrong issues, yet you just reinforced my points…

  7. im 14 and i went out with someone who was 74 she was a great driver. Oh the good days in mcdonalds and our long talks in the car

  8. Hey Jo. Maybe you should learn some grammar before you go tearing other comments down. "Research first, THAN act like you know what you’re talking about." It's "then" not "than." And I believe what the "main" issue is the deterioration of driving skills that tends to occur with older drivers. You are simply naming situations that older drivers have issues coping with due to their depleted skill level. There are also several other arguments that are for a necessary age-based assessment of older drivers. For one, older people are much more fragile than younger drivers. Statistically, older drivers (65+) are only the second most likely to get in a car accident (Of course, first place belongs to drivers aged 16-20). Even given that young drivers are more likely to get into a wreck, older drivers are the most likely to get in a fatal accident. These facts are certainly more important than older drivers simply being an annoyance on the road, and I assure you there are many more reasons. And no, I'm not simply pulling these statistics out of thin air. There are several scholarly journals on this exact subject, and I've read many of these since I've already written a paper arguing for the retesting of older drivers. Good day.

  9. Old people should be made to modify their cars so that under a certain speed there is an audible/visible alarm!


    Seriously, however, I do believe that there are many risks involved with letting elderly drivers on the road. I agree with Amber in that older drivers are an "annoyance" on the road, but think about it in more detail. The main reason I sometimes drive agressively is because of these annoyances. Elimate them and it's not too far in the realm of impossibility that drivers could be a lot calmer. Road and vision tests only do one thing: give the government more money. There has to be more for the amount of money that is spent: hand-eye coordination, reaction time, quick decisioning, etc. These are things that we "young" people take for granted, yet they deteriorate as we age. I believe there should be a certain cut-off for these tests, and if you fail, you don't get to drive. Driving shouldn't just be about how one takes a corner, shoulder checks before turning or comes to a complete stop at a stop sign, they should really incorporate other tests to determine driver competency.

    Oh, and if you are a senior, pull over to the damned side of the road if you have a queue of cars behind you!

    P.S. – egon – you can run faster than 5 mph.

    P.P.S – Maybe the slow alarm wouldn't be such a bad idea!

  10. Oh, right on. I wrote a hurried post last time and didn’t take the time to read all the posts!

  11. This is a very interesting subject. Instead of emotional pleas from everyone I think that we need to do some statistical analysis based on information collected regarding accidents among people of different ages. I do think that as we get older we should be tested on the road more frequently and using the same test you have to pass in order to get a driver license when you are a kid.

    I don't think that its desirable or practical to ban "old people" from the road. In fact, we could learn a thing or two about driving from them at times. Yes, some elderly people drive too slow. Most simply drive the speed limit and obey the traffic laws so as to make for a safe driving experience for themselves and everyone else sharing the road with them.

    We should all follow that example anyway.

    Have a nice day.

  12. Don't forget that driving the speed limit and driving carefully not only saves lives but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves gas as well. Less gas burned saves you money and also reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Have a nice day.

  13. You're right John, I think tests need to be done and the law should be based on something much more specific than "ban old people." I also agree that we can be too aggressive as a whole while driving. However, no matter how much we *should* be driving more conservatively, we don't. And that means that driving too slow and too conservatively is a hazard. Should it be? No, but it is, regardless of how it *should* be.

    My main problem with "old people" driving is that many of them don't have the ability, reflexes, vision, and hearing to drive safely, but they do anyway. In fact I was standing in a parking lot two days ago smoking, and witnessed a man (he must have been at least 80 years old) back right into a parked Buick. There were no cars around, he had plenty of room, yet he backed right up into it, causing damage. When he got out he could barely walk. He should not have been on the road. He poses a serious danger to other drivers, and should have his license revoked. Yet we still allow this…why?

  14. I am 15 years old and next week I will be taking the driving test to obtain my license. From what I've learned in driver's ed. and experience on the road, the most problematic areas are in high traffic. It's not just older people but people of all ages. My dad, who is 37, is a worse driver than all of my grandparents. I think that this is caused from a lapse in teaching young drivers. If you never learn to drive right in the first place it's going to show on the road. I think that we should implement a test starting at the age of 65 that would require a little more depth than the standard driver's test. It is, however, a fact that older people are a danger on the road. In fact they almost tie my age group in probability of wrecking.

  15. You're right Mitch, it seems to me that driving skill is slowly going out the door as years go on. I don't know how to fix it, but something needs to change, people are just becoming too selfish to care about using blinkers, being courteous, staying in the right lane unless passing, etc. It's becoming ridiculous just to drive anymore.

  16. We Are Doing Science Corsework at my school and the quiestion

    is 'Should old people be aloud to drive?'

    id like it if any people would be able to help me by givng me websites to check out

    or leave a comment about what you think.

    Thanks x

  17. Emma, We r also doin coursework and u don't hear us askin 4 help, do your own work, spooner

  18. Well Emma, you see all of our opinions in the article or in the comments. If you need clarification, just ask.

  19. Smokin' hot chick .. right coz i do know ya !

    i dont come onto decent sites to start a sh-t stir so dont be a

    " spooner " as you say and sort ya life out !

    and don't bother writing bak i dont really talk to low lifes that go onto sites like this just to start sh-t !!

  20. Its very simple, after a certain age give them a driving test and if they can still drive let them drive, if not then ban them from driving.

  21. I agree with Daine. As people grow older, they should take tests more and more frequently. Tests that will evaluate their competence to drive safely.

  22. hello io think old people should be banned from driving because my cousin died by one


  24. listen here all you old people. I'm still alive. I like to eat old people. they are chewy. easy to brake their bones.

    keep driving chuck…

    Im already after you!

  25. Hello, i am 90 years of age and i believe that i am a terrible driver. Therefore i believe that old people should not be able to drive. GET ME OFF THE ROADS! But i do also believe that the government should pay for all us old pensioners to have free taxi's to pick us up from our homes. Until they do, WATCH OUT, im dangerous. Many thanks, Dot.

  26. i a, doing corse work on should old people be allowed to drive and i cant find anything does eny one have any ideas on where i can find research because this doent tell me anythin thanks

  27. i've recently been attacked by an old lady and her handbag because her car stopped and i went into the back of her, cleary they shouldnt be on the road, they cant drive and should be bloody banned!

    end of discussion.

  28. Simple logic — retest every year. I think that a half-senile old person driving is going to exhibit delayed reaction times, "tunnel vision" (doesn't notice a child/animal on the side of the road), and inattentiveness in a similar degree to drunk drivers. Whether you're blowing 0.09 or pushing 90, your reaction and attention is too impaired to be a safe driver. Test 'em, check their response time. No "street" testing, give them a coned-off parking lot, and have a random "deer crossing the road" / "child running after a ball" cardboard cutout test. did they notice it?

  29. Good point Ahanix, typical road tests wouldn't be enough, and they'd need specialized tests to determine their suitability to the road.

  30. I agree that there needs to be stronger laws in place regarding older drivers. My mother just renewed her license today (she's almost 70) and I was hoping she wouldn't pass the eye test. They allowed her to try again with her bifocals and she passed. She really scares me but there's nothing I can do about it.

  31. YES all states should test olderly people over the age 65 its bad enough we have to watch out for the drunks i myself was ercently involved in an accident with an olderly of 80 yrs. old and she didnt know what she was doing and also ran from the scene leaving me the thought of what the hell

  32. I am a 15 years old, and am deeply offended by this.

    I HATE OLD DRIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. In my expert opinion, we are all good drivers, and we are not lately dangerous. No laws should be passed, and we should not be made to pass a test to have a basic right. You are fascists! I hate you all who disrespect us! You get on the roads with your fast cars, listening to your rock and/or roll, and your fancy technology! You have no respect! I hate you all! All of you! Except you. You will all become once, and then you will know how it feels like!

    PS I hate it when people pretend on this sort of internet web page, all those kids mucking about. Why back in the day…

  34. Hmmm, it amazes me how much people these days spend HATING old people. Granted, I have seen some bad drivers of old age but some very bad young drivers. I have not posted on here in a while. I see the day where people's knee jerk reaction will be "the old people can't drive and they are costing us all too much in healthcare so we just need to send them all out on a boat and sink it". That seems to be the attitude these days and it is deplorable.

    However, I do agree that some old people should not be on the road driving. A few years ago I worked at a cardiology practice where we had quite a few elderly patients. Some of them were taking a laundry list of medications that would have massive side effects for anyone. Many of these people could not see well, had a hard time walking and could barely sign their name on a piece of paper. Yet they DROVE to our office. LOL How ridiculous is that!

    Now, I know that for a lot of elderly people they are afraid to give up driving because they lose a lot of independence. Also, many times family are not available to give rides and also most cities do not have any kind of reasonable alternative to cars for transportation to such places.

    Young of the world (including myself) need to stop stomping on the elderly though. All of this hate is unnecessary. Poor driving aside there are times that we need set aside our arrogant "know it all" attitude and hear at least some of the things that older people have to say. Thats not to say that you have to listen to the segment of older people who still cling to outdated ideas about race, social status, religion, etc. However, there is a whole proportion of the elderly population who are not like that and who do have life experience and wisdom that they would love to share and could share with all of us. Throwing away the "old people" of society is a common attitude. I think it is awful. You are still talking about human beings not just someone who needs to be kicked to the curb and left for dust.

  35. We’re just talking about driving, John, not dropping them off into the woods. If middle-aged people had the same problems, we’d be talking about them in the same way.

  36. They are human and under the human rights they are entitled to be allowed certain rights like the right to drive. It is wrong as one day everyone gets old and it isn't nice for them to be denied that right as it is some old peoples enjoyment to drive a car.


      1. you are well off mark, just cause people are older they have more experience than you. Dont stereotype and if what you say is true then you should offer help to someone not abuse their confidence you self obsessed cow!

        Obvs you just feel sorry for yourself or relly up your own arce i mean come on katie price. Doubt you look like her tbh probably just an ugly wreck!

        1. Well they should be able to drive if they can drive safely. Some might have more experience but if they can’t use that experience because they don’t remember it or if they forget where they are, they should not drive. Not saying all have memory problems, but some do, it’s those elderly people who should not be driving

    2. actually driving is a privilege not a right. you have the right to take the driving exam but not to drive. if you don't pass the test you don't get a license and cannot drive.

  37. Plane and simple, if their reflexes are too slow to safely react to an emergency, they should not be allowed to drive. I work in a resturaunt and I see seniors who walk so unbelievably slow, and they run into stationary objects in the dining room… "If that were an oncoming car you'd be dead by now"

        1. frigging weirdo, someone watches too much porn! Obviously not enough action at home!

  38. i have just finished a bit of coursework about elderly people not being allowed to drive and this site really helped! thanks =) =]

    some points are quite good actually. personally i dont think that they should be allowed to drive if they are a hazard, but if they have had several different tests then maybe they should if they are good enough. although everybody should still be retested every so often. but if they fail then i dont think i would let them back on the road if i was the one doing the driving tests on the old people. thanks guys >.

  39. Well people over the age of 65-70 have a sloweer reaction to things and a different shade in their eyes with acts and a smalblind lens but doesn't make them blind completely but a disadvantage on the road. plus old people have the most record for damages and hitting people on the roads becuase of slow reactions and plus a couple of boy racers ages 17-25 have but they are new to the road is also has no link to old people though. I'm guissing if you're going to curse old people's driving get some facts before, but i still agree to ban people over the age of 70 from driving =)

  40. Love you guys, have big feelings for you guys as long as you are 100% British not foreign..

  41. My brother was killed 18 years ago by a 73 year old driver who had been behind the wheel of the car all day, had no rest, not even stopped and then fell asleep. He was that stupid he thought he had hit a cone and just kept on driving, leaving my brother to be hit by two other cars.

    I have read articles over the years regarding old drivers, driving down the wrong side of the motorways, losing control of their car for no reason, crashing their car into houses, bus shelters, I could go on and on. Now I have just read a story about an old man, 89, who mounted a kerb and killed an 18 month old baby and critically injured the baby's mother.

    I feel that once you get to a certain age you should have certain tests, eyes, awareness, co-ordination and definitely another driving test. I am sure that if this was brought into effect there would be many people who would be saved, not families left mourning their loved ones all because someone who never had to pass a test is still in charge of a car.

    Get them off the roads.

  42. tell me what the difference between driving under the influence of non prescription drugs to driving with a cocktail of presciption drugs ( which clearly state on the packet not to drive ) is??? I drive for a living and can personally say have never had a near miss with a p plater who apparently is the main culpret of deaths on our roads, but not a day goes by when i need to make a split second decision because some competely oblivious old person behind the wheel of their camry has stopped in the middle of the road to give way to…..nobody!! it's been to long since they obtained their licence and rules have changed etc. i have seen one turn right ONTO a two lane roundabout??? WTF. something needs to be done!! they are not only endangering themselves but others too and are MOSTLY to stubborn to realise it and give up something they have been doing for years. i say bring on DRUG and driving tests for oldies and lets find out what sort of state of mind they are in when driving!!! nearly every prescription drug you can get causes drowsiness and they pop 10 a day for various conditions. at least when i'm sick i stay home in bed, not putting peoples lives in danger! wanna stay mobile??? get a mobility scooter and stay off the road!!!


      I just think that these old people need to RETAKE THEIR DRIVERS TEST, OR GET OFF THE DANG ROAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Very mature Billy – get off this site if you have nothing of importance to say, which you obviously don’t. Keep your foul mouth to yourself.

  43. i completely agree and my dad was working down the road from an accident where an 80 something year old lady hit a mother and her baby in a stroller, killed the mother, and injured the baby. this happened in toronto

  44. Oh dear, I see some irresponsible parent has been letting their child play on the computer. I think it's time for bed and let the grown ups interact with other grown ups.

  45. Old drivers need to be tested and if they fail have their license removed. My Grandma stumbles around on a clear floor, cant remember anyone’s name, drives 20ish mph no matter the speed limit of the road/highway, lacks all types of hand eye coordination, and is on a cocktail of medication that does only god knows. Yet she gets offended if someone talks to her about giving up her license. She is a danger to those on the road and around the road, and peoples property. But she and other older people don’t see it that way, this is a situation where younger people need to make a decision for their elders.

  46. Old people (those 65+) should only be allowed to drive a car with a standard transmission. NO more "confusing" the gas and brake pedals — car will stall if they lack the coordination to properly drive. Damned if I want to be getting my Big Gulp when some senile grandma crashes her le Baron through the window of the 7-11 'cause she thought she was hitting the brake and really was flooring it.


  48. This is a disgrace! I drove jeeps in japan back in 45, dont tell me im not good enough to drive!

    1. I respect that you drove perfectly fine back then but this is a different time and if the testing did take place if you are still able to drive like you did in Japan back then I have no problem with you on the road it is the elderly citizens that drive un safe that I am worked about not you in individually I hope that makes sense and does not offend you.

  49. I think that seriously, its not a case of us not being fair towards old people, its a matter of safety. Just the same as very young or very old people cant ride certain amusement park rides, or cat participate in certain activities such as firefighting or police patrol work. There comes a time when political correctness needs to come second to being safe. Besides causing millions of dollars due to insurance claims, the truth is many people that otherwise would be alive today are dead at the hands of an old person. This, in my opinion, is a preventable disease that can be treated and cured with mandates for specific tests once a person reaches a certain age.

  50. I think that seriously, its not a case of us not being fair towards old people, its a matter of safety. Just the same as very young or very old people cant ride certain amusement park rides, or cat participate in certain activities such as firefighting or police patrol work. There comes a time when political correctness needs to come second to being safe. Besides causing millions of dollars due to insurance claims, the truth is many people that otherwise would be alive today are dead at the hands of an old person. This, in my opinion, is a preventable disease that can be treated and cured with mandates for specific tests once a person reaches a certain age.

  51. Thank you for making this site it is full of information I can use for a project I’ll be sure to put you in the bibliography

    1. Because otherwise we get tons of spam comments from automated bots – it’s a way to make sure you’re a human 🙂

  52. I got hit by an 85 year old man , when I was on my motorcycle (doing25mph) , why? Because his eyesight and reaction time is less then half of an avarage man!!! Now someone , anyone can you please give me a legitamite reason why they should be allowed to drive ? A trip to the grocery store is not worth my life ! Or wherever they have to go , with all do respect to elders , at least think about your own lives since you are so inconsiderate for others. And let me just add that I had multiple skull fractures , broken leg , and ha to go under brain surgery , I had 68 stiches on my head alone, and I’m 22 years old btw.

  53. Two hours ago, I was driving back from hospital to home after seeing my husband. I was on the main road. A car came out from a side street so close to me and I tried to avoid a crash and swerved on the centre line so the car can turn left without hitting me. But the car didn’t turn left. It swerved to right from left and came straight at my car. I couldn’t avoid the car because I would crash to other cars if I tried. My first car crash. I’ve been driving for over 20 years. The man was 83 years old with a big shiny expensive looking car. My car is 9 years old Toyota Corolla. My car is insured but his car is not. I have to go without a car till it’s fixed but at least I don’t have to pay for the repair. Tow truck driver said “The stupid old man should have had insurance. If he had insurance I could arrange a replacememt car for you.” The old man didn’t even say “Sorry”. He only said “You don’t have to upset like that. I said I will pay for the repair.” Now I really think Old People Shouldn’t Drive.

    1. Wow, what a dick! Glad to hear you’re ok at least, and I hope all goes well with getting your car back. All the best for your husband.

  54. Narrowly avoided a crash on a motorcycle at night the other day, an old lady pulled out of a junction who should have clearly seen me coming down the straight. She waited until I was nearly at the junction to pull out, luckily I always slow down near junctions for situations where people just don’t look, and so managed to slow down enough and swerve to miss her…..this time at least!

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