As we age, our eyesight decreases and our reaction time slows, increasing the risk of accidents while driving.
According to the Washington Post in the United States, as baby boomers enter old age, concerns about aging are growing, with 17 million drivers aged 75 or older as of 2020. In Korea, there are 3.68 million baby boomers aged 65 and over drivers, but it will soar to 5 million by 2025. This is due to the rapid aging of the population.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) statistics, the safest drivers are those in their 60s. However, after the 60th birthday, the number of fatal accidents gradually increases, reaching a peak after the age of 80.
One of the major obstacles to driving older adults is vision problems. Cataracts, macular degeneration, and peripheral vision loss due to aging threaten safe driving by blurring or narrowing the field of vision. A bigger problem is cognitive decline. There is a risk of forgetting the destination while driving, as well as confusing the entry and exit routes and driving in the opposite direction. Other risk factors include not being able to pedal properly due to arthritis or having difficulty concentrating due to medications you normally take.
There are also objections to restrictions on driving for the elderly. It is possible to receive help from advanced safety equipment that was not available in the past. Lane departure warning and automatic braking for collision avoidance can help seniors drive safely.
In addition, some point out that it is inappropriate to judge the elderly with statistics related to past accidents because the health of the elderly is getting better than in the past. Jessica Sicino, deputy director of the American Highway Safety and Insurance Institute, said, “The elderly these days are not the elderly they used to be.
Still, if you are curious about ‘how old are you?’, you may be able to refer to the standards for managing driver’s licenses for the elderly in various countries.
△ 65 years of age or older = Korea shortens the aptitude test cycle from 10 years to 5 years. Japan provides subsidies to older drivers who are equipped with sudden acceleration suppression devices.
△75 years or older = In Korea, the aptitude test cycle is reduced to three years. New Zealand renews licenses conditionally with a physical examination every two years. The state of New Hampshire takes a road test every four years.
△79 years old = The state of Texas requires eye tests.
△ 80 years old = The state of Florida requires eye tests.
Reporter Lee Yong-jae [email protected]
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