Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Technology

Keeping Older Drivers Behind the Wheel 260

Posted by timothy
from the my-dad-should-just-not-drive-ever dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A new study shows the key role technology can play in extending the age at which people can drive safely and highlights the important psychological role that driving plays in older people's lives in contributing to feelings of independence and freedom and maintaining their quality of life. The study identified ideas for in-car information systems to help compensate for the reduction in reaction time that affects many older drivers. Specific recommendations included a head-up display on the windshield that displays road sign information based on GPS position so the driver doesn't have to keep watching the road side for information and a system to provide the driver with audible feedback on their current speed so the driver doesn't have to look at the dashboard so often. 'Our research highlights issues that have been overlooked by car designers and those advising older people on lifestyles,' says Dr Charles Musselwhite, who led the study. 'The current emphasis on developing technologies which take over part of the driving task may actually end up deterring older drivers. By contrast, better in-car information systems could help them drive safely and ensure they want to keep driving.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Keeping Older Drivers Behind the Wheel

Comments Filter:
  • Please no! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Saturday September 20, 2008 @06:51PM (#25088397) Journal
    FTFA:

    Specific ideas generated include:
    A system that unobtrusively displays road sign information through a head-up display on the windscreen. This is a see-through display that shows information without impeding the user's view. Harnessing Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, this would track a car's position and identify approaching signs. Exactly the same information contained in the signs would then appear on the windscreen at the right moment. The driver would therefore not have to keep scouring the road side for information.
    A system providing the driver with audible feedback on their current speed, again harnessing GPS technology. For example, one short, non-distracting bleep could indicate the car is approaching the local speed limit; a longer bleep could indicate the speed limit has been reached. The driver would therefore not have to look at the dashboard so often.
    The systems have the potential to minimise the amount of time drivers divert their attention from the road ahead, cutting the chance of an accident.

    You kow, I just don't see how this will help much with people who have severely reduced reaction times/cognitive abilities in dealing with traffic.
    My mom uses the sweet public transit deals that exist exclusively for seniors. We need to have those everywhere, they work great. They pick her up right at her door with a handicapped-style van with a lift, and she goes wherever she wants. Her church, her local senior center, and her medical clinic all have similar setups which she also uses. There's even a similar deal that takes her the whole 300 miles to Atlantic City when she's in the mood. Costs her way less than keeping a car, and it's a lot safer for her, as well as for the rest of us. I think it's a far better solution than encouraging her to drive, which she really cannot competently do. Until real available cars can reliably drive themselves , I say please, keep the seniors off the roads for everyone's safety. Besides, we seriously need to reduce the number of drivers on the road, not find new ways to let everyone drive!
    All this just strikes me as something sponsored by the auto industry in the hopes of opening "new" markets.

    • Re:Please no! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:00PM (#25088467) Journal
      I agree. While neat, these systems are just more information for old people to ignore, or worse, be distracted by.
      • by clang_jangle (975789) * on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:12PM (#25088539) Journal
        Exactly. How can a person who ignores their turn signal indicator for 30 miles be expected to look through a transparent heads-up display and see the road, or recognize which beep is beeping?
        • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:44PM (#25088753)

          ...ignores their turn signal indicator for 30 miles

          Give him a break, maybe Senator McCain is busy texting someone on his BlackBerry.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Give him a break, maybe Senator McCain is busy texting someone on his BlackBerry.

            lmfao*!!!

            (* i'm john mccain, and i approved this message.)

          • by omeomi (675045) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @10:13PM (#25089635) Homepage
            Give him a break, maybe Senator McCain is busy texting someone on his BlackBerry.

            Or, more likely, sending somebody a telegram with one of those black clicky Morse code things.
        • Re:Please no! (Score:5, Informative)

          by techno-vampire (666512) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:17PM (#25088961) Homepage
          I know you were at least partially joking, but I can tell you how that happens because it used to happen to me, when I was in my mid 50s: my hearing had deteriorated to the point that I often didn't hear the turn signal clicking if I had other things on my mind, so it would, in true Energizer Bunny fashion, keep going and going and going. I finally realized that I had a hearing issue and got hearing aids and it doesn't happen any more. Hearing loss is often gradual, and few people notice it until it's gotten fairly bad, so that elderly driver may simply not realize that they can't quite hear as well as they think they do.
          • Re:Please no! (Score:4, Informative)

            by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:36PM (#25089093) Homepage Journal

            That, sadly will happen to all of you... I mean us... ;-)

            But it will also happen to eyesight, reaction time, ability to accurately gauge/apply brake and/or throttle pressure, etc.

            Warning systems are not adequate to address these issue. I, for one, when I get to that point, will simply sell my car and turn in my license for a State Issued ID. Sounds unbelievable, I know... but my grandmother did something much similar one day with no one prompting her to - and she still drove better than many younger drivers out there... just not good enough by her own judgement I guess.

            Having a brother who is an EMT, and me having regularly driven everything from motorcyles to small trucks to construction equipment to starships [startreknewvoyages.com], I've gained more than sufficient respect for what damage I can do behind the wheel if I dont take such steps as I get older.

            • Warning systems are not adequate to address these issue. I, for one, when I get to that point, will simply sell my car and turn in my license for a State Issued ID. Sounds unbelievable, I know... but my grandmother did something much similar one day with no one prompting her to - and she still drove better than many younger drivers out there... just not good enough by her own judgement I guess.

              The problem isn't that older people don't want to turn in their Driver's Licenses (or can't, in some places - if yo

              • I agree... and hope I too make that judgement call correctly. In at least a few states though, a driver re-certification test after a certain age is a necessary, recurring requirement to remain licensed (DC) or on proposed bills (MA).

                And to others who have claimed teens have more fatal accidents, I guess it depends on who's study, and what age groups...

                Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Study and Improvement of Regulation shows that drivers older than 85 have 11.47 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, compared with 3.3 fatalities in the 16-to-20 age group.

                And another interesting tidbit from the IIHS...

                Per mile driven, the crash rates for elderly drivers are as high as those for teenagers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Older drivers, however, have fewer accidents per capita, largely because they drive fewer miles, and there are fewer of them on the road.

                That above is probably the statistic that is misquoted by those supporting the elderly having less accident

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  And to others who have claimed teens have more fatal accidents, I guess it depends on who's study, and what age groups...

                  Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Study and Improvement of Regulation shows that drivers older than 85 have 11.47 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, compared with 3.3 fatalities in the 16-to-20 age group.

                  Let's not forget that people over 85 are a bit more fragile than a 16-to-20 year old, easily survivable injures to a young person can be fatal to an older one. Also someone who started driving before seatbelts were invented may be less likely to use them (more likely to be injured/killed in an accident) than a younger driver who has had safety restraints as part of their on road experience from day one of life.

                  Random statistics never give the whole picture.

          • by gerf (532474)
            I wasn't joking. My grandmother (RIP) once said, "Kids shouldn't ride bikes while the sun's going down. They know old people can't see them!"
          • Thunder! (Score:3, Interesting)

            I can't hear my clicker when the radio is on (Honda Accord). Specially when I'm going "na na na naaa na na naaaa na na THUNDER!".

            Given that some car radios automatically increase in volume when the engines revving, why can't they have a clicker that automatically adapts to the sound level? And that gets really obvious when it's been on for more than 10 seconds?

            I gotta patent these ideas, I really do.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by balloonpup (462282)

              Oddly enough, this feature is fairly standard in Tractor-Trailers. If you leave your directionals on in a Freightliner Century, among others, the dash display will remind you with a high pitched beep and a "directional on" indicator instead of the usual MPG and odometer readout. This may be because rigs don't tend to have self-canceling blinkers...

          • by rrohbeck (944847)

            What happened to the dashboard light?

            • For some reason, the dashboard light just didn't catch my attention, except at night. I'm not sure why, but it might have been right where the line goes across my bifocals (Yes, I'm a six-eyes.) so that it was even less likely that I'd notice it if I weren't looking for it.
    • Re:Please no! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:21PM (#25088601)

      "The driver would therefore not have to keep scouring the road side for information."

      Ugh. When I learned to drive, the booklet specifically said you're supposed to have an idea of what's all around your car that's at most 5 or 6 seconds old -- that means right & left shoulder checks to monitor the blind spots, etc.

      Scouring the road side is part of safe driving -- for this system to be as safe as that, you'd need to affix GPS transponders to ever kid, deer, dog, soccer ball, and car so that warnings about hazards moving in from the side could also be displayed on the HUD. There would be so much information in the same visual space that it'd be a complete jumble.

      • by eln (21727) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:28PM (#25088639) Homepage

        I thought the reason old people drove such big cars is so they could drive in a straight line indefinitely without having to be bothered by such minor inconveniences as road debris, stop signs, small dogs, children, etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RudeIota (1131331)

        Scouring the road side is part of safe driving

        Yes, but not all roadside information is relevant to your safety... If you do any driving in unfamiliar, cluttered city areas (especially at night), looking for road signs and addresses can be extremely distracting.

        Granted, people have routines; Most seniors will probably travel in familiar territory most of the time... but for those times when older people (hell, anyone) are looking for a street with a tiny sign in the opposing lane or looking for a friend's house in the dark for the first time, cues from

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          This is quite true. I heard about a recent study that showed that one of the biggest problems with the cognitive abilities of older people is the ability to ignore things they should be ignoring. This is a major problem when driving, as there's tons of things going on you should be ignoring, and if you don't ignore them, your brain gets overloaded, and you can't concentrate on the things you should be concentrating on.
      • Scouring the road side is part of safe driving -- for this system to be as safe as that, you'd need to affix GPS transponders to ever kid, deer, dog, soccer ball, and car

        Dont worry, our government is working on just that...

        (Am I joking? Crazy? Serious? Correct? Or all of the above? ...I'll let you know as soon as I figure out the answer to that myself)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Firethorn (177587)

      I say please, keep the seniors off the roads for everyone's safety. Besides, we seriously need to reduce the number of drivers on the road, not find new ways to let everyone drive!

      Statistically the seniors are better than young teenage drivers, so should we extend the driving deals to kids?

      Honestly enough, my dream would be for an automated travel system that addresses 90-99% of everybody's needs. If they have special handicaps or limited mobility, live in a condo with a station in the condo.

      Get away from

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        That's because teenage drivers are all learners.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Trailwalker (648636)

          That's because teenage drivers are all learners

          Only the ones who survive. I've suggested to my employers that we rename a section in one our cemeteries "My Space".

      • by billcopc (196330)

        my dream would be for an automated travel system that addresses 90-99% of everybody's needs

        My dream is for every single office job on the planet to convert to telecommuting. Bye bye rush hour, bye bye pretentious volvo-driving she-devils and their daily fender-benders.

    • Re:Please no! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:09PM (#25088911)

      Reaction time isn't the only factor that can make you a good driver or not. It isn't even the most important factor.
      If it was then we would be letting kids 8 years old to drive cars. As their reaction time is better then even someone in their 20s or 30s. But it more then that a good driver has the ability to use the information of the surrounding and keep the car in a situation were you don't need a fast reaction time to adjust to the situation. It is about seeing that guy in the intersection and knowing to slow down as he will illegally turn without looking, or zooming past the stop sign keeping a 3 second distance between you and the driver ahead of you so if he stops quickly you have a lot of time to analyze the situation and react with a lot of time not split second. Seeing the guy behind you is pissed off because you are driving safely but it seems to cautious for him and will pass you, rather angrily. You need the emotional stability that comes with age to not get pissed off and try to get even with him. There are a lot of skills that older driver bring to the road too. Giving them tools to help balance what is loss with age will only help make things better. I don't think this technology is for the 90 year old woman. But for the 60 year old person who is starting to feel his age.

      • Re:Please no! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fyoder (857358) * on Saturday September 20, 2008 @09:07PM (#25089251) Homepage Journal

        I don't think this technology is for the 90 year old woman. But for the 60 year old person who is starting to feel his age.

        There are 90 year olds who can drive just fine. And there are others who are vegetables. The differences in abilities amongst the elderly can be huge. What makes sense beyond a certain age is annual tests. Grandpa passes, he can continue to drive, otherwise not. Actually assessing the ability of the individual makes a more sense than arbitrary rules. And if you need GPS to know a stop sign is coming, you shouldn't be driving. Unless kids, animals, and idiot pedestrians are chipped and show up on the display as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pla (258480)
        You need the emotional stability that comes with age to not get pissed off and try to get even with him.

        Y'know, I just don't understand that one. I have a rather long commute, and on a typical morning, I have to pass at least a few people going painfully slow. I don't do so "rather angrily", I don't do so aggressively, I simply do it to get in front of them. I wait for a good clear spot with a legal passing zone, and get past them as quickly as possible and back into the proper lane.

        Yet many people
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not old, just 31, and I choose not to drive due to cognitive impairments (Sensory Integration Disorder, Asperger's, etc.).

      I could pass the driving test and get a license if I wanted one, but it's not in the best interest of myself or the public.

      Some older drivers would likely not pass a driving test if required to take one when renewing a license.

      I think everyone should be required to take a written and driving test once every 5 years when renewing their license. It would be an inconvenience, but would

    • by mishehu (712452)
      I completely agree about the need for additional mass transit, especially the type that can cater to the elderly.

      I remember one time when I was at my bank that I saw an old woman unable to walk around her big old Lincoln without holding onto the side of the car and moving ever so slowly. I'm sorry, but if you do not have the strength to stand by yourself, what business do you have driving a few thousand pounds of steel around?
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @06:54PM (#25088423)

    Google and other can't even get address 100% much less road sign done to the point of where it will need to be and How big of a disk will you need to just fit each road in big city area?

    • Why does it need to be linked to GPS data? Road signs are pretty easy to read with a simple camera mounted on the dashboard. You could probably add a few lines of code to the recognition software and have it read construction speed limit signs, too.

      In fact, I think my neighbor's car has a display on the windshield for the speed she's going. And the car is at least from the mid to early 90s. I don't know if it reads the speed limit, though.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Let's say it's 1Tb of data (doubt it is even .1% of that, but lets just say)

      http://www.pricewatch.com/hard_removable_drives/sata_1tb.htm [pricewatch.com]

      An extra $120 isn't a big deal on a car.

    • Google and other can't even get address 100% much less road sign done to the point of where it will need to be and How big of a disk will you need to just fit each road in big city area?

      Good questions. Now let's answer them.

      Let's say there are 1,000,000 road sign varieties in North America of any consequence.

      Let's be really generous and give each sign 1KB of information on average that's 10GB or so of data.

      That can be organized into:
      Sign GUID: 32bit integer
      Sign Shape GUID: 8 bits
      Sign Color GUID: 32 bits
      Sign location: 2x 32bit signed floats
      Sign Content: ~1KB

      And that's if we decide to be anal retentive about our signage. Let's limit ourselves to 256 different sign categories and a basic si

  • Directions to Country Kitchen Buffet...
  • The article says among other things: The study identified ideas for in-car information systems to help compensate for the reduction in reaction time that affects many older drivers.

    I must say that I sincerely doubt that older drivers have any reduction in reaction time.
  • > The study identified ideas for in-car information systems to help compensate
    > for the reduction in reaction time that affects many older drivers.

    We get faster with age? That's great! But why would we want to compensate for it? So as not to have an unfair advantage over younger drivers? Too late. We already have that.

  • by Louis Savain (65843) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:14PM (#25088549) Homepage

    According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis [dot.gov], in 2005, over 43,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. alone. I don't know what the number is for the entire world but it must be in the six digits. Most of them are not caused by older drivers. Traffic fatalities and injuries are a much bigger threat to the nation than terrorism. All the money being spent on terrorism should be thrown into developping a 100% automated transit system. And no, we don't need AI to do it.

    • There is something that's more or less self driving that's been invented for ages. It's called a train but the problem is a lot of countries didn't for see the problems of individuals driving themselves so the rail systems leave a lot to desire.
    • And no, we don't need AI to do it.

      No, we don't. We do, however, need a cognitive system sophisticated enough to be able to read visual and other inputs, and to act accordingly. As in, differentiate between a bunny in the road (take evasive action if not dangerous to anyone, otherwise crush the bunny) and a kid (take evasive action even if it might result in a crash, endangering the passengers and/or other trafficants).

      That's an extremely complex problem, for which we are far away from an adequate solution

    • by Ostracus (1354233)

      "All the money being spent on terrorism should be thrown into developping a 100% automated transit system. "

      Driving doesn't destroy hotels [bbc.co.uk] and put mammoth craters in streets.

    • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:53PM (#25089179) Homepage Journal

      Ummm... the "statistics" (I presume you are talking about the quote from People Magazine on the left?) say nothing of the sort.

      They say:

      For every age group, the fatality rate per 100,000 population was lower for females than for males. The injury rate based on population was higher for females than for males in every age group, except for people under 5 years old and people over 65 years old.

      Which says absolutely nothing useful. Here is just one reason why... it does not (nor do the actual statistics) indicate anything about the person who caused the accident.

      Inotherwords, how old was the driver at fault? Any other age related data is pretty irrelevant to the statement you are trying to make - and sadly, that information is lacking.

      I can see the mistake being an easy one... the Peope Mag quote is confusing at best, retarded at worst.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Hallelujah. However I have the feeling that we'll never get a widespread automated driving system before we get flying cars, at which point it'll be ten times easier to make them fully automated and avoid accidents.

      Flying cars are the wave of the future, you heard it here first!

  • by floatingrunner (621481) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:21PM (#25088591)
    a car that just drives them to their desired destination beats thousands of buttons and blips and bleeps of LED light. we need the DARPA SENIOR 65+ challenge
  • by hedgemage (934558) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:21PM (#25088593)
    And the problem with driving is complicated by many, many factors. First off, you have vision problems, hearing problems, problems placing objects in space (as much cognitive as visual), memory (even short term things like cancelling a turn signal), reaction speed, fine motor skills, and the list goes on. The folks I deal with are not computer users, and their unfamiliarity with them would make the addition of GPS, warning lights, vocal instructions simply more confusing than helpful. The real solution shouldn't be keeping elderly drivers driving, but rather giving them more safe and accessible public transportation options.
    • by snikulin (889460) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @09:51PM (#25089511)
      At this site I have leaned that open-sourcing the drivers will solve all drivers' problems.
      Without any doubt, OSS community will fix all these drivers in no time.
    • by fermion (181285)
      There are issues, but it is true that for the elderly driving can provide a will to live. The elderly are increasingly becoming familiar with computers. The elderly also have a lot of experience driving, and are often familiar with they places they drive to, and therefore often do a better job driving than most, even if they drive slowly. Public transportation is not always a solution due to the need to walk and carry things.

      In fact public transportation is a solution to the other side of the equation,

  • A HUD? With the relevant traffic signs on it? What does that have to do with old people? I want those things!
  • by fishthegeek (943099) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:26PM (#25088619) Journal
    Look grandpa might have slower reaction times but how much reaction time do you need going 12 miles an hour with a right turn signal on? I know older drivers can be a pain but you just don't see too many of 'em in accidents. They forget where their keys are I suppose.

    Nearly every close call I've had in the last 8 years was cell phone related. How about we tell those damn kids (who are still on my lawn by the way) to stop texting, reading, watching movies, and fiddling around with their GPS while driving to frakin' stop that stupid crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by powerlinekid (442532)

      That is anecdotal... just like the below.

      Every accident I've been involved in over the past 10 years involved a driver over 70 years old. One passed a turning vehicle to hit another turning vehicle without even slowing. The other decided that making a right hand turn into an oncoming vehicle was a good idea. And we're not talking cutting someone off here... we're talking about broadsiding them.

      The only ones who know just how safe elderly drivers are as a whole is probably the insurance agencies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        over 65 per mile accident rates start to increase
        after 75-85 per mile accident rates are equivalent to teenagers
        over 85 is the worst group on the road today per mile.

        But insurance rates don't reflect these per mile rates because elderly drivers generally use good judgment - not driving at night, sticking to local roads, driving less, etc.

        Many states have tried programs like vision tests, road tests, and so on. None of these programs has had great success in sorting out who is fit to drive and who is not. Ho

  • No no no. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zwicky (702757) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:27PM (#25088631)

    Always upgrade to the newest stable drivers. Have we learned nothing?

  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:31PM (#25088657) Homepage Journal

    Anything that makes it safer for older drivers to keep driving will make it safer for all drivers to keep driving. An 18 year old shouldn't be looking at the dashboard or road signe any more than necessary. In fact, there isn't a single argument that isn't equally valid for drunk drivers as it is for older drivers. The point isn't to make it easier for drivers who have lost the ability to drive safely to keep driving. The point is to assess all drivers, of all ages and walks of life, on an ongoing basis, based on current technogy, to make certain they still have the physical and mental skills necessary to meet the current requirements for a license. This is just a dodge to A) make money, and B) court the AARP vote.

    • In fact, there isn't a single argument that isn't equally valid for drunk drivers as it is for older drivers.

      This highlights the severity of the problem - my mother in law is 70, and I'll bet you a whole lot of money I could drive more safely after drinking a 12-pack than she does sober.

      Not that I *would* drive drunk - but that's the point. I know I don't have any business on the road in that condition; neither does she. And she's not the worst elderly driver I've seen by a long shot.

      This is just a

  • The Atlantic recently had a very good article [theatlantic.com] comparing the philosophies of road design in North America versus in Europe.

    In brief: lots of road signs (1) micromanage drivers, (2) make drivers complacent to an individual sign's importance, (3) cause drivers to pay more attention to the side of the road in search of signs and less attention on actual road conditions, and (4) condition drivers to not think for themselves (e.g. driver slower than the limit in poor visibility or in rain).

    The suggestions mention

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      I am living in Germany, and recently saw a very interesting german tv program about older drivers. Currently there is no law concerning the age of drivers. The producer of the program, who was about 60, showed his mother, 80, driving around his grandmother, of 100 years old. His grandmother still had a valid driver's license, written in the old-style german font!!! "just for emergencies". He convinced his grandmother to turn in her driver's license, and his mother to do a voluntary test of sight and reactio
  • OK, let me mince words.

    This is bullshit.

    My 80 yr old grandmother has been in 3 accidents in as many months. SHE states she needs to be off the road, but at the same time, she refuses to let her freedom go.

    I call bullshit. Let the ARRP get some people to help the elders. They just DON'T have the reaction time that younger (relatively) drivers have.

    But, I guess we can't say anything bad about the elderly. After all, nobody is entitled to bring anyone else down in these U.S. of America.

    But seriously.... M

    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      Brave guy, your grandfather. There are two things, though. One is, it may be a better idea to create a compulsory fitness test, to estimate the driving safety of a person. If you have lost more sight than can be compensated by glasses, it might not be smart for you to be on the road. The other is, there should be a viable alternative. If giving up your driver's license means not getting anywhere but your home, you will most likely do all you can to keep it. Spending some research on viability checks of alte
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "My 80 yr old grandmother has been in 3 accidents in as many months. SHE states she needs to be off the road, but at the same time, she refuses to let her freedom go."

      Disable the vehicle. Sooner or later younger relatives need to have the "you will stop driving" conversation with their (literally) demented older relatives. I didn't have to call the cops to get my parents off the road (they understood their faculties were toast) but I would in order to keep them from killing themselves or others.

      Of course, t

  • Wrong Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:40PM (#25088721)
    When they place the comfort of seniors above the safety of everyone, we have already lost.
  • ...the important psychological role that driving plays in older people's lives in contributing to feelings of independence and freedom and maintaining their quality of life.

    Is anyone worried about maintaining the quality of life of the unfortunate pedestrians in the crosswalk in front of grandpa when he gets the brake and gas pedals confused?

    ~Philly

  • Most fatalities are in the age range of 18-24, ad primarily involve males. That says to me that its younger people who haven't learned to drive responsibly who are the root problem to be addressed.

  • you aren't going to realize what a huge mistake this is. There are drivers here that would make you turn white. These blue-hairs trying to drive their land-yacht cars and endangering the rest of us. I completely agree that most fatalities occur in younger, inexperienced drivers. But most accidents, at least here, are caused by old people.

    I've seen a man over 70 who had to physically lift his leg off the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake. To make matters worse, he was driving a gigantic Cadillac

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I completely agree that most fatalities occur in younger, inexperienced drivers. But most accidents, at least here, are caused by old people.

      You have to remember that younger people often spend far more time behind the wheel. I live 20Mile north of the city my Girlfriend lives 10Miles south and I work 15Mile to the east.

      I don't live within walking or cycling distance to anyone I know so it's car or nothing.

      • by DragonTHC (208439)

        how is this pertinent to anything I said?

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Your saying more fatalities happen to younger people, I'm saying young people use the road more than older people.

          Unless I missed something.

  • So long as the older folks have tremendous power at the ballot box, there's only a minor chance we'll see them having to be retested every so often to renew their licenses.

    My grandfather, who's in his early 80s, continues to drive occasionally during the day and without incident. Maybe that extra old computer I gave him is keeping him sharp?

  • Nightmare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @07:56PM (#25088825)

    If anything, reaction will be slower. I can now imagine what would happen if my parents would have a head ups display.

    * Well, officer, there suddenly were these letters in front of me and while I was changing my driving glasses for my reading glasses, I hit the car in front of me. And I was just on my way to my grand-son. Little houghi is now engaged, you know. Lovely girl it is. They will get married next summer in ...

    At a certain age EVERYTHING becomes a distraction. My parents can't even drive with the radio on anymore. If I tell them to go left or right, I need to tell that WAY in advance and need to repeat it three times.
    I would not dare to give them a GPS, let alone ask them to handle one.

  • I keep working at getting them out of the car earlier.

      There's a whoooole lot more than lessened reactions... and even more than the fact that their ability to judge distance and speed of oncoming objects diminishes, too. There's an overall lack of awareness in many situations.

    Until we have those cars that will drive themselves, then get them out of the cars.

    And when we DO get cars that drive themselves, I'll buy one for my parents, and one for myself.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @09:32PM (#25089415) Homepage Journal
    In france, people living in bordeaux can board the train and make it to their jobs in paris, 400-500 km away, just in an hour or so.

    in america, people suffer 1-1.5 hours of traffic to go to their jobs downtown.

    the solution is simple. more, quality mass transportation. this way you can assure that life quality and independence of older citizens never deteriorates, and also you can save younger citizens from wasting their life away in traffic.
  • ... there's an old driver behind my rear wheel right now.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig DOT hogger AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 20, 2008 @10:00PM (#25089555) Journal

    Cars are the number one killers, both of planet and of people, and they want to keep people driving older?

  • by porpnorber (851345) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @10:25PM (#25089727)

    I'm amazed! This is Slashdot, and here I was all ready to do what I usually do: stick my oar in and say, guys! Forget the technology angle, there's an important policy issue here—we should be restricting car use to the competent, not extending it to the incompetent! And what do I find? That's what everyone is saying! Will marvels never cease?

    Unfortunately, there's a show-stopping technical issue here that everyone is—quite surreally—overlooking. Use GPS to tell people about roadsigns? What if GPS mis-reports your location? What if you're in a tunnel? What if there's construction? What if, for heaven's sake, the bridge is out, and the sign and the road are not there? Building a system in which people control physical weapons (sorry, vehicles) based on information from an ungrounded virtual reality is criminally insane!

    Now, putting directional transponders on road signs so they can identify themselves clearly and reproduce themselves on in-vehicle displays is such an obvious idea that I've been expecting to see it announced as reality at every car show for 35 years. It's an absolutely must-do, supervising-officials-must-be-suicidal-morons-to-miss-it (or evil geniuses up to no good to pretend to miss it) sort of thing. Of course we want that. But it has to be very reliable. Over 99% reliable, because unlike physical street signs, the failure modes aren't ones that we can fix by moving the signs or adding flashing lights. And it has to be a solution that applies to flares and bollards and temporary signage just as smoothly as it does to fixed signage. Use GPS?

    Sorry, my brain just exploded.

  • Instead of keeping old drivers on the street driving, concentrate on keeping us from aging and thus, preserving our reflexes.. :)

  • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @10:59PM (#25089901) Journal

    The real answer is to get those older drivers off the roadways. Forget the grey panthers and require drivers over 65 to re-qualify to keep their license every 2 yrs and include a driven and reflex test as well as the usual vision test.

    Old drivers aren't often in accidents, they often cause accidents. They will obliviously run a red light and cause a collision behind them while they blissfully continue on to park with their wheel up on the curb at the grocery store.

  • Most old people are adverse to learning new methods. This works to our advantage inasmuch as at least they aren't trying to drive and text at the same time. I don't see a smart car working for a borderline senile senior. If they grew up with the technology, and it was second nature, then maybe it would prolong the amount of time they could drive safely. But that isn't what is being proposed here. What is being proposed is a new trick to teach old dogs, and we all know what they say about that.
  • They are talking about old drivers pre-Vista and 'the Wheel' = Vista.

If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up.

Working...