In this article on our seniors blog, we look at the growing number of seniors on the road and the consequences (?) for all of us.
Our seniors at the wheel
Today’s population is increasingly aging, and Quebec is no exception.
One of the realities of this state of affairs is that the percentage of drivers in the over-sixties age bracket is increasing significantly. What are the safety implications? Should older people be allowed to drive?
So many questions that deserve a little analysis to better understand the ins and outs of this situation, which is worrying many.
More accidents for seniors on the road
Seniors face more road accidents than their younger counterparts. While this is not, strictly speaking, a surprise, it is the increase in this trend that is more of a concern.
Statistics in Quebec are implacable: almost one in two people over the age of fifty-five is involved in road accidents.
This is a worrying figure when you consider that this age group accounts for only twenty percent of the driving population. It’s worth noting, however, that over the next ten years or so, as the population ages, there will be no fewer than one and a half million older drivers on the roads.
This would mean, no more and no less, that seniors on the road would represent thirty percent of drivers in Quebec. This value is clearly on the rise, and is likely to entail inexorable adjustments in terms of safety.
Assessments currently imposed
The only health and licensing assessments currently required in Quebec are for drivers over the age of seventy-five.
They consist of a medical and visual examination. They must also be repeated five years later. No driving test is required. The final decision therefore rests with the doctor, but also, as a preamble, with the family, who may at any time contact the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
Some believe that these measures should be significantly strengthened to improve road safety.
Get into the habit of driving regularly!
Some studies have shown that it is above all regular driving that enables older people to retain their driving skills.
But seniors tend to drive less and less as time goes by.
Add to this an inexorable decline in reflexes and visual acuity, and the risk of road accidents inevitably increases. The families of the elderly also play a major prophylactic role, and should, to the best of their ability, play a major role in identifying risk situations on a regular basis.
Seniors often no longer have the necessary objectivity to hand in their driver’s license of their own accord. The loss of the latter can sometimes be very difficult, especially for senior citizens who dread the prospect of isolation.