Following the reports of that tragic accident, I listened to several people at a holiday party talking about how surprised they were to hear that the 83-year-old driver who is responsible for the deaths of three people should be held criminally responsible.
My question is why not? Why should the advanced age of the driver limit or eliminate his accountability for the deaths of three people? Driving is a privilege, not a right, and we as a society can and do hold people responsible for their actions regardless of age. Elderly drivers and their families owe it to society to recognize when they are no longer capable of safely exercising their driving privileges and make other arrangements such as family, friends or Redi-Wheels.
Clearly no one likes to give up their independence but too often elderly drivers view their driving privilege as a right and they cling to it in an effort to preserve independence. The age at which someone should retire their automobile will vary but we should require all persons over a specific age, say 72, or those who have had strokes, onset of dementia. failing eyesight or other impairments to be tested more regularly, at least every two years. They should be required to pass a medical clearance as well as a driving test and a written test.
As our society ages we will continue to experience more of these deadly tragedies until we recognize that at some point safety concerns dictate a more rational approach.
Mark Gilles, Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park