Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crashing old men

Old man in Sydney crashes his car into people.

Old man in Frankston crashes his car into a restaurant.

Old man's car rolls onto a Melbourne railway line and delays trains.

I see lots of older drivers in command of motor vehicles and generally they drive in a very incompetent manner. Some are downright dangerous. I should think once you turn seventy, the onus should be on you to prove that you can still drive competently.

If they can barely walk, and it takes them five minutes to get into their drivers seat, should they really be in control of what is proven to be a very dangerous machine?

Somehow, like earsplitting motorbikes and noisy cars, what it is blatantly is obvious to me seems to be invisible to Victorian Police.

Keep in mind that the people I am talking about are not in isolated country towns or an outer suburb where there is no public transport. These old people I speak of who daily threaten lives with their lack of driving skills live in privileged areas with good public transport.

Just to personalise and anecdote, I laughed when we lived in Balaclava and I saw an old bloke with a white stick, indicating he was blind, trying to guide his wife into a reverse parking space. His wife managed to to kind of pull herself out of the car in some manner once the five minutes of reverse parking was completed. Fortunately it was in a side street rather than Carlisle Street, so there was a not a huge impact on other drivers or public transport.

Carlisle Street in Balaclava is horribly trendy now, unlike when we lived there and it was just 'interesting'. One reason we moved is that we tired of interesting at times. I suggest Carlisle Street has the highest number of the oldest and worst drivers in Melbourne. Just around the corner is the St Kilda Police Station but you won't see cops in Carlisle Street unless it is to buy their lunch. Have they been warned off these truly dangerous drivers or are there so many bad drivers in the street, it just all too hard for them?

We are daily lectured about retirement planning and part of that ought to be us examining our alternatives to a motor car when we are old and can't or shouldn't be driving.

10 comments:

  1. Mmmm ... I agree and yet disagree. I had to really give my father a massive guilt trip before he would stop driving. It is to do with 'identity'. His older brother has only given up his 'right' to drive in the last two years, whereas it should have been at least ten years ago. I had to give up my licence last year. It is a massive change, to life style and to self-image. There are many social engagements that I forgo because I cannot get there by public transport. I cannot accept lifts because I have nothing to offer in return. I have a friend with MS that I cannot travel with because she is a danger on the road. Yet her family do not harp about her giving up her licence because she would be confined to her house in St Ives otherwise.

    It is a 'right' that we all claim. Like getting as much of the pension as we possibly can simply because we have paid taxes all our life. Like our tax is sitting there is a big lolly jar. We dont think that we have got our rights back with roads, and education and security and all. No no. We have rights.

    I read all the stories about old people (not just men) smashing into people and things. Yet they can go to court and fight because a lawyer will willingly take their money.

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  2. In some states, there's a mandatory driver 'competence' test annually after a certain age (varies). But like many administrative systems, this can end up being just a rubber stamp!!

    As I've ranted about in my blog, I'm more concerned with giving virtual license to kill by allowing drivers to tow a 2-3 tonne trailer behind a HUGE vehicle - WITH NO EXTRA TRAINING required! This would be a difficult transition for a good driver, let alone a poor one. Does this actually make sense to anyone??

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  3. Victoria is the only State which does not automatically re-test aged drivers, and there are hundreds of licensed drivers over 90 years.
    I am very familiar with one Mr. Magoo who can hardly get in or out of the car, is crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and has documented limited movement, yet insists on doing 500 kms every saturday, even when it is 47 degrees "for something to do".
    Everyone who has seen him has begged him to cease. I spoke to his quack about it and was abused for my trouble.
    Do not go on the Mlink or the other toll road on Saturdays. he has had 4 speeding fines in the past year and got very indignant when he had the letter about the Points!

    No I am not risking my inheritance by dobbing him to Vicroads as I cannot trust them to not reveal it was me. His last Will & Testament is like a revolving door.

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  4. Julie, I am surprised that you can't manage to get to most places by using public transport and the occasional taxi. Not having the cost of running a car can pay for rather a lot of cab travel. I agree, it is a hard one, but a dangerous motorist is just that. That is why I urge people to think about where they might live when they are older. Apart from no doubt pleasant company, you may not have anything to offer although small gift for someone who regularly gives you a lift is nice. You would not be a person who avoids having a car and expects other people to give you a lift. If an offer is made, accept it with the good grace it is given.

    That is a serious one Red. I've seen too many jack knifed caravans at the side of the road. When I was younger and having come from a farm, I could back a trailer, drive a truck etc but it is so long since I have done it, if I was going to tow anything for a distance, I would take one of those one day courses.

    Oh dear Emstacks. Mr Magoo is still driving. Encourage him to speed and he will lose his license.

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  5. After P-platers, the age are involved in and cause the second highest number of accidents on our roads.

    But they have political clout.

    Similarly, the elderly are never fined for fare evasion on the trains and trams even when it was obviously deliberate, whereas teens are routinely targeted. They just get a pat on the back and some "help for next time".

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  6. I did not know that statistic Adam. I am not surprised. I have seen old people fined, but very rarely. I think the young and o/s students are targeted because they have a high rate of fare evasion.

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  7. argh I watch these little oldies in the Southland carpark, just as you described. Some take so long to get in and out of their cars, with their sticks or their walkers. Some take just as long to get into their 'seniors' car parking spots. I've had a few near misses where they simply don't or can't see oncoming traffic. It's frustrating at times, I wonder how on earth they think they are competent enough to drive.

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  8. Fen, remember Angela Catterns banging on about parking spaces for mothers with babies? I don't believe it, seniors parking spaces. What do they think zimmer frames are for? I hope to not have to drive when I am old, but if I do for a while, I hope I can realise when I am no longer up to it.

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  9. My employer requires regular medical evaluations. The older you are, the more frequent they are.

    Same thing for driving licences. Medical at 18 (or whenever you get it) and periodic evaluations. Older you get, the more frequent the evaluations. At 60 and beyond, every 12 months.

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  10. Far too sensible Andy B.

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.