So what do we do about it?
I propose we retest drivers every number of years. Hear me out!
While we can cull some statistics on the number of at-fault and no-fault collisions, and even on the number of fatalities, we don’t have real stats on the number of dangerous situations drivers find themselves in on a day-to-day basis. Let’s dig a little deeper.
No one demographic is the main culprit. According to research from The Boston Globe: people over the age of 65 are actually the safest drivers. But even so, for every senior who drives slow and causes traffic to back up, there is a young male or female who is driving too fast trying to impress his friends, and for every one of those young drivers, there is a teenager playing on their cellphone, or playing with the radio and not paying attention to the road.
So here’s my proposal to solve the problems once and for all: Every five years, we all go and get retested for our license to make sure we are still capable of driving.
That should begin the elimination process of unqualified drivers who don’t take the privilege of having a license seriously. And yes, I said privilege because you aren’t born with the right to drive a car. You have to earn it.
Here are just some of the immediate benefits that would be realized:
* Lower insurance rates
* Fewer accidents and fatalities
* Lower DWI’s and DUI’s.
* A safer road for all drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists, too
Ultimately, this is about making the road safer for everyone. The odds you’d get hurt by an elderly person driving without the proper physical abilities because he/she had not been tested recently, compared to a younger person by some other reason, is relatively low.
The bigger worry is younger drivers, who tend to have poorer estimates of their true physical and mental abilities, take more risks and end up hurting themselves and others from behind the wheel more often than the elderly.
If you yourself are moving into the seniors age group —and a lot of people are — or have parents or older relatives you may have to take care of, your or their independence could rest of this.
This is not my definitive answer, but, rather, a proposal to start a conversation for anyone who’d like to join in. Second, I’m proposing a policy that increases the safety of our roads and drivers first, rather than one that’s fair as the first priority.
The Bottom Line
To lower traffic deaths, lower insurance rates and make the roads safer for cars, pedestrians and bikers, we need to do something. Retesting and better driver education will make he roads safer for everyone.
There is so much more to discuss on this, put your comments below and let’s start the conversation.
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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
Lauren is the National Automotive Correspondent for Newsmax TV, a conservative news net carried in 23 countries and in over 35 million U.S. cable/satellite homes. She is also The Weather Channel and Inside Edition’s auto expert. Lauren Fix serves as a juror for the esteemed North American Car & Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY).
Lauren is The Car Coach columnist for Parade Magazine and eBay Motors and writes a weekly column. She also appears weekly on USA Radio’s DayBreak USA.
Lauren is the president and founder of Automotive Aspects, Inc., a consulting firm with a wide range of multi-media services, including media consulting, broadcast messaging strategy, public relations and television production.
Lauren is the author of three books: most recently, Lauren Fix’s Guide To Loving Your Car with St. Martins Press, Driving Ambitions: A Complete Guide to Amateur Auto Racing, and The Performance Tire and Wheel Handbook.
Lauren’s broadcast experience includes Oprah, Live! With Regis and Kelly, The View, TODAY, 20/20, The Early Show, CNN, FOX News, FOX Business, MSNBC, HLN, TBS Makeover and a Movie, Inside Edition, ESPN, TBS, Discovery, Speed and NPR, to name a few. Lauren previously hosted four seasons of Talk 2 DIY Automotive on the Do-It-Yourself Network (DIY), was the National Automotive Correspondent for Time Warner Cable and hosted Female Driven on Lifetime TV.
Lauren’s articles and advice have appeared in USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, eBay, Woman’s World, Esquire, First for Women, InTouch and Self. She has also contributed content to Motor Trend, Truck Trend, Hot Rod, Car Craft and many other automotive publications.
Lauren is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) and is an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified technician. She inherited her love of all things automotive from her father, who owned a brake remanufacturing business and worked for many U.S. manufacturers. Lauren has been fixing, restoring and racing cars since the age of ten. She has been advising drivers almost all her life.
In addition to being a leader in positive consumer awareness and the automotive industry, Lauren is often asked to speak to groups around the world about her success in marketing, motivation, entrepreneurship, parenting and other lifestyle topics.
Lauren was named the 2015 WIN Award, 2013 SEMA Business Network “Mentor of The Year”; SEMA Business Network 2012 Woman of the Year; and awarded various Car Care Council “Automotive Communications Awards” in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Past awards include 2008 Automotive Woman Of The Year and 2010 Woman of Distinction – Entrepreneur winner. Lauren Fix was inducted into the National Women and Transportation Hall of Fame in 2009 – a very high honor for a hard working automotive professional.
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