Another day, another story of an elderly driver crashing into somebody, or something, and nearly killing innocent bystanders.
It’s now almost a weekly occurrence. This time, it was, fortunately, a stack of trolleys that bore the brunt of an out-of-control Toyota Rav4 at a Victorian shopping centre.
Let’s replay that situation with a set of children walking between the car and the trolleys. The situation wouldn’t be as straightforward as an insurance claim and a ruffled sweater.
We regularly focus on excessive speed, young drivers and the effects of drugs on driving — all valid points of concern — but one that seems to be viewed more trivially and humorously is when an elderly driver accidentally hits the throttle instead of the brake.
It is scientifically proven that as you get older, your faculties deteriorate. To safely operate a motor vehicle, you need to have adequate vision, adequate hearing and a sense of awareness about yourself and your car.
It’s also law to report any serious or chronic medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive.
So, how old is too old? At what age should we stop an elderly driver from getting behind the wheel and putting innocent lives at risk?
At what age or interval should drivers have to test and prove their skills again?
Would you fly in an aeroplane with a pilot that did their accreditation testing 20 or 30 years ago and was never tested again? Of course you wouldn’t. Pilots are some of the most highly-skilled workers, because they need to know what to do in a range of different scenarios.
Why is it any different for drivers on our roads?
Even taking age out of the equation, drivers should be required to undertake a defensive driving course before being allowed on the road. Beyond that, drivers should undertake road rule and driving tests every five years – at the least.
Another regular occurrence is a total lack of understanding of road rules. A perfect example is the difference between merging lanes when there’s dashed lines and merging lanes when the lane lines end.
Who has right of way? Have a good think about whether you know the answer, then scroll down to find out.
With a huge increase in our state and national road tolls during 2016, a record number of speed cameras and fine revenue, the current system of excessive revenue-driven policing is simply not working.
By being forced to focus on the wrong things, drivers are becoming worse by the second.
We need a national system that focusses on reasonable speed limits and enforcement, and adequate driver training and retesting.
I sure as hell don’t want to be the unlucky guy killed by an elderly driver, a person with no understanding of the road rules, or an uneducated idiot that thinks driving under the speed limit is the only thing needed to get them by.
What are your thoughts? Should there be an age limit for drivers? And, should drivers need to undergo retesting at regular intervals?
Answer to above scenario: Driver A must give way (at all times) if their lane is ending with dashed lines. Driver A (or whichever vehicle is leading) has right of way when their lane is ending by virtue of lines finishing and lanes merging.