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Acknowledged Risks of Driving While Elderly

September 12, 2002

I don't disagree with Gary Swearingen (letter, Sept. 7) that elderly drivers should be retested from time to time. Where we do disagree, I'm sure, is that I believe Swearingen and others his age (and younger) should also be retested. When I see a car tailgating me at the speed limit (or over) or someone cutting in and out of traffic lanes to gain a few car lengths, it is always someone younger.

Richard Young

Claremont

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I agree that elderly drivers should be retested. Some kind of law should require it before tragedies occur. Elderly drivers should be tested psychologically and neurologically as well; we seem to give driver's licenses to just anybody these days without really considering the danger that may lurk. I think that by the age of 75, at least, hearing and vision should be checked regularly.

There are so many drivers on the road today who should not be there. They are thoughtless and irresponsible, mostly trying to drive and talk on the phone and not paying attention to traffic. They are rude and inconsiderate--and some of them are not elderly.

Toni Jacobson

Monterey Park

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I have recently been put in the position of having my driver's license revoked because of failing the DMV driving test. Losing my license to drive was like being sentenced to jail by a prosecutor with a limited ability to defend myself. The test is very strict. It can screen out many satisfactory drivers who have limited alternatives.

In addition to the additional driving test and doctor exams mentioned, I suggest that DMV driver competency hearings include a driver's representative (like a recent driving instructor who gave the "accused" lessons), and that prior to losing one's license an older driver could be given a conditional driving license for daylight driving only, or be limited to local driving within five or 10 miles of home. This would provide the elder driver some dignity while allowing family members or neighbors an anonymous way to encourage the DMV to request another driving test for the individual. Many elderly drivers realize their limitations and are more willing to comply when other options are available. I feel like I am a young man at 71. I walk every day and often run two miles (which I have been doing for 30 years).

Sol Crespin

Woodland Hills

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