Senior Citizens Support Right To Drive

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

After a Silver Alert was issued for an elderly Kansas man, many asked, when are you too old to drive?

"A lot of things would stop if we didn't drive. A lot of volunteers would stop. A lot of things would stop," said Carolyn Bennett, 75-year-old driver.

Carolyn does not like to slow down with her daily routine. She is an active volunteer at the Linwood Senior Center.

"We can do more things if we can drive. We can't just sit at home. I'm a volunteer here and I enjoy it but I couldn't volunteer, if I couldn't drive," said Carolyn.

She has been driving since the age of 14. The last time Carolyn had a speeding ticket was in her early 30's.

"I am a little cautious but yet I try to do the speed limit. I don't want them to think i'm not driving my speed limit, so I am careful about that," said Carolyn.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, the number of traffic accidents, in 2008, shows a peak of 14,075 accidents for the age group 15-19, compared to 2,771 for the age group 65-69. The data shows that the older the drivers, the fewer number of accidents.

"The senior citizens, I think, take a little more time and are a lot more cautious, then the young people. I think that's why [the young people] have more wrecks is because they're fast. They want to go fast," said Joanne Hammond, 68-year-old driver.

Although fast is not what they were practicing at the senior center. They were expecting that daily exercise will help them stay alert and keep up with their ability to drive.

"They still need to have that ability to drive to doctors appointments, to the grocery store, those kinds of things. Taking that opportunity away from them really restricts their independence," said Trooper Gary Warner of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

It is independence that Carolyn and her peers are hoping to keep.

"Don't take it away from us. That's the main thing," said Carolyn.

Drivers 65 and older must renew their license in person every four years and are required to pass a vision test.

For safety tips from the Kansas Highway Patrol, click here.

For other resources, click here.

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