Thursday, September 6, 2012

Old People Driving

Picture this:  You drive up to a red light and patiently wait for it to turn green.  A minute later, the light changes and you continue to sit.  Half of the light goes by before the car in front of you begins to slowly roll into the intersection.  You swear to yourself and drive around the person, making sure to look into their window as you pass.

I’m sure this has happened to you a million times, and about 80% of those instances you saw some old fuck that doesn’t look like she knows what planet she’s on clutching the steering wheel for dear life.

I’m also sure that you’ve seen a story on the news, like this one or this one or this one or this one, where some old fuck just drives into a building, taking out a wall and sometimes running somebody over because their old bodies and brains just went, “Whoops!” and they forgot how their car worked. 

It happens frequently, and it’s dangerous.  Just recently, some old fuck swerved into oncoming traffic a couple miles from my house and killed three people.  Whoops!  And before that, some old fuck backed over eleven people outside of a school.  Whoops!

The elderly should be treasured and cared for because of the simple fact that they are a link to the past and a sense of personal history is important.  That being said, we need to realize that they are deteriorating.  Their senses aren’t as sharp and their bodies aren’t as nimble as they were at one point.  I mean, if someone’s 
been driving for fifty years, they shouldn’t make the mistake of stepping on the gas instead of the break. 

“I got confused!”

Well, then you shouldn’t be driving.

The law in California is that when you hit 70-years-old, you have to make your way to the DMV for a vision and driving test to renew your license every five years.  I haven’t seen these tests, but I’m guessing they aren’t too in-depth.  If they were, we wouldn’t see grannies flying through shop windows on a semi-frequent basis.  Also, 70 is really old.  Your body starts taking a shit long before that.  And five years is a long time in old-person-time.  New things stop working every other day at that point.  Let’s say someone passes the test at 70, do you think their body is at the same level of health at 74?  Hell no.

I’m not saying that we should revoke everyone’s license at 65 or anything like that.  That would really clog public transit.  Can you imagine how long it would take to get anywhere if the bus had to pick up ten old people at every stop?  You might as well limp wherever you’re going at that point.  I’m saying that we should start the renewal process for the elderly earlier, let’s say 65 to keep it on par with retirement.  Once you’re too old to work, we gotta make sure you’re not too old to drive.  And after that, you gotta come in every two years for a vision and driving test (a hearing test would be good, too).  Every two years seems like a short amount of time?  Too bad.  You’re fucking old and falling apart and it’s not like you have too much going on during the day anyways.  You can miss a couple episodes of Judge Judy and Cheaters every couple years to make sure you don’t kill me while I’m in line at Taco Bell.

I probably sound like I hate old people, or at least think less of them.  But I don’t.  Old people can be kickass when they aren’t holding up the line because they don’t understand what an “upcharge” is.  The basic fact is that putting these people in control of a car, which is an extremely dangerous machine for anybody that isn’t paying close attention with a full grasp of how to operate it, comes with a lot of trust.  It only takes a slight jerk of the wheel to cause a catastrophe.  And if you can’t figure out which pedal makes the car stop (there’s only two, after all), you shouldn’t be allowed to drive one.

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