R. Smith: Targeting older drivers

In response to the article, "Maine considering tougher restrictions for older drivers" (July 25), I would like to make a few comments.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers says that recent crashes in southern Maine and another one earlier this month in Portland highlighted the death and carnage Maine experiences every year and, apparently, Summers thinks he has found the answer to the problem.

Of Maine's one million drivers in 2011, about 189,000 were 65 or older. That means 18.9 percent of the total drivers are going to be especially scrutinized.

Sounds like discrimination to me.

I read where there is a lot of speeding going on in Maine, however, law enforcement officers don't have the time to stop many of the violators. We all know that speed kills, so why doesn't Summers put on a crusade to curb speeding?

And how many people are driving impaired by either illegal drugs, alcohol or both and causing death on our streets and highways?

Those two groups represent the other 81.1 percent of drivers.

Unfortunately, the elderly are a very captive and vulnerable group, as they can be very easily identified simply by date of birth. How convenient.

Many elderly still have pride and independence. I wonder what will be left when Summers gets done looking into the so-called problem?

Richard Smith, Lewiston

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Jack Tetreault's picture

Allow Driver's Licience for??

I propose that, in order to be PC, all groups have their driver's licience voided except for ILL Eagles. That way only one group can be blamed for accidents. Freedom and risk will be traded in for that security. And, that group cannot be singled out because that would be profiling and that is not PC. Probglem solved in that we will never hear or read about bad driving again.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot says he can't

The parrot says he can't believe the lack of response from the seniors community on this urgently important topic. Perhaps it IS time to put some new restrictions on their drivers' licenses. Apparently, their eyesight is poor enough to where they're not reading the papers, or is it that their minds have become dull enough so that they no longer care about things that affect them?

Allisa Milliard's picture

after my 80 y/o father's 5th

after my 80 y/o father's 5th car accident in 3 years, his doctor finally recommended that the state remove his license. my grandfather, in his 70s, was in 2 roll overs and 4 accidents in 2 years before they finally took his. i understand the need to drive and be independent. i also understand how hard it can be for "the kids" to drive their for their parents, especially when they have jobs and children of their own. it's easier for everyone if the elder keeps driving them self. but there does come a time when the body just can't keep up with the spirit: eyes weaken, response time slows. i don't know what the "new restrictions" are because this is the first i've read about it. will it mean that license loss will be after 2 accidents rather then 6? that elders must pass driving fitness tests after a certain age to ensure physical ability? does it make it easier for families and doctors to recommend license removal, something doctors are hesitant about? while i agree the the police should be doling out tickets to speeders and actually enforcing the rules of the road, older people who are no longer physically or mentally able to handle driving a car should lose their license just like anyone else who is physically or mentally unable to handle driving a car.

Jason Theriault's picture

It makes sense

First off - Are you really comparing Senior Citizens to drunk drivers?

Just like I have no problem with limiting how much, when, and with who the state limits young drivers, I have no problem with adding extra checks on elderly drivers because your body starts to have issues as you get older. But this isn't even what Summers is talking about here. What they are talking about is checking witch medical conditions and medication can have an impact on driving.

RONALD RIML's picture

That is already being done

Medical conditions and medications are already being checked on - not only on elderly.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Now let's see, we have drunk

Now let's see, we have drunk drivers, drivers who are impaired from the use of drugs ranging from pot to heroin, teen-age drivers in ages from 16 to 18 who bring nothing to the steering wheel but a pulse; we have drivers who like to text, fard, eat, watch tv, pick their teeth, read a book, converse with the folks in the back seat, all while operating a motor vehicle; we have drivers who are operating without a license, or operating with a suspended license; we have flagrant speeders, we have drivers who perform all of the above, and are here illegally; and all Charlie Summers can come up with to help ameliorate Maine's highway accident problem is to hassle the geezer crowd? We can't profile aliens, legal or otherwise, but it's o.k. to profile elderly drivers and put requirements or restrictions on them that no one else has to bear?
Require motorcyclists to wear helmets, Charlie, and maybe then we'll take your primary offense seat belt law and your little crusade against senior drivers a bit more seriously. AARRGHH!!!
You're up, Veritas.

RONALD RIML's picture

Charlie Summers targeted another group earlier

Then he sent out threatening letters to out of state residents who were attending Maine Colleges.

"Better register your motor vehicles in Maine and get Maine Driver's licenses, or....."

At least he didn't use The Gubernator's "Gestapo" Word....

But Charlie, being from Illinois, knows how to apply the 'heat'.........

First they came for the Non-Resident College Students, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Non-Resident College Student.

Then they came for the 'Elderly, and... Ah, Pirate, perhaps You and I better say something.....


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