Should Older Drivers Be Required to Obtain Physician Screenings?

April 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

As the “baby boom” generation grows older, there are an increasing number of senior citizens on the road, and some doctors are suggesting that older drivers should be required to establish that they are medically fit to drive, in an effort to reduce the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries from auto accidents.

In an editorial published last month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Donald Redelmeier indicates that the current approach of restricting a senior citizen’s ability to drive only after they have a number of moving violations may need a more proactive approach.

According to the editorial, mandatory screenings should be required, because seniors are not only likely to have slower reflexes and perception, but may be on medications that impair their reaction and ability to drive well. A study by the AAA foundation in 2009 found that 69% of Americans 55 and older are using medications that may impair their driving skills.

While the odds any such a measure becoming law in the U.S. seems extremely remote, it raises the question of why stop with seniors? If doctors believe that drivers must establish that they are medically fit to drive, why not make that a requirement for all drivers, as even younger adults could develop conditions that impact their ability to safely drive?

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