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People and Politics Forum 22. 08. 2008

"Should senior citizens take fresh driving tests?"

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More information:

Older Drivers -- Why Seniors Are A Menace Behind the Wheel

There are more and more older drivers on German roads and they're involved in a growing number of accidents. Seniors, not novice drivers, are the group which causes the most accidents in Germany. While many European countries have long required older drivers to undergo periodic driving tests, Germany hasn't followed suit. Still many senior citizens here willingly go back to driving school to keep themselves fit behind the wheel.

Our Question is:

"Should senior citizens take fresh driving tests?"

Diane Bates, from Australia, writes:

"In my view l think that it is a good idea for them to refresh their driving as things change and the traffic goes much faster now than before. I am in Berlin now and l do notice the way the traffic is so fast and different. I think maybe it is good for every one to refresh their driving skills."

In Nicaragua, Werner Horbaty says tests make sense:

"You haven't introduced such a test in Germany yet? Well then you will know the case of a Swiss driver from Basel who steered his car for some 60 years without possessing a driving licence, let alone a tax disc for the autobahn. I think you might need such a test!"

Peter Pommeranz, in Venezuela, is adamant:

"I think all drivers should do an eye test every two years...It's mandatory here in Venezuela and generally accepted, so I don't understand all this German whining!"

In the Philippines, Noel Dolor forcefully agrees:

"Yes, I believe that senior citizens must take driving tests because their behavioural patterns and the way they react to things drastically change. As they become older, they exhibit aggressive behaviour and become very demanding, especially when responding to little things."

Dennis Bluesch, in Germany, looks at the positive impact:

"Accident figures would be much lower if senior citizens had to do such tests."

In India, Rahul Deshmukh, is a bit more blunt:

"Yes sure...it's for their own safety as well as for others traveling on the roads. It would be better if senior citizens switched to public transport...If they fail in the tests they should be entertained with public transport concessions."

But James Klein, in the USA, widens the selection:

"I think driving tests, or at least a review, would be good for drivers of all ages. We all forget rules and skills as we age, and these tests would help remind us of the rules of the road."

Erwin Scholz, Costa Rica:

"Telling the elderly to give it up,

is expecting a bit much.

So my friends, don't surrender that car,

'cos the bureaucrats have gone too far!"

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.