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NHTSA commits to plan regarding elderly drivers

One safety issue on the road that has always existed is elderly drivers. The issue has gained a lot of traction over the past few years, and even decades. As the population gets older, there are bound to be more and more drivers on the road who are significantly "up there" in age.

Does this mean that all elderly drivers are incapable of driving? Of course not. But, there is an inherent degeneration of skills and a person's physical and mental abilities as they get older. We react slower; we aren't as secure in our ability to perform certain actions; and, in general, we are prone to mistakes. So the idea of new guidelines for elderly drivers has been a hot topic recently -- and a new plan announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could help address this issue.

The plan does not focus on restricting a person's license or ability to drive. Instead, the plan is all about education, data collecting and vehicle safety. The NHTSA will look at improving vehicle safety equipment and technology; they will create or bolster programs that help identify issues drivers are having relating to "functional changes" to their vision, strength, flexibility and cognition"; and they will compile improved statistics for accident rates.

The important thing to remember here is that age is but a number. It doesn't matter if you're 18, or 25, or 40, or 55, or 80: if you drive recklessly or negligently, you will likely be held liable for any accident you are involved in.

Source: USA Today, "Feds making new rules for senior drivers," Matt Schmitz, Dec. 8, 2013

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