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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: OT - Florida Drivers License
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 13:49:59 -0400

Nadyne Nelson wrote:

> I'm at a loss as to what to do.  I tried to tell him that he has the right
> to endanger his own life but he doesn't have the right to put other people's
> lives at risk  But driving is his last link with independence and forcing
> him to give up his driver's license is not something that he would find easy
> to forgive.  I'm sure many other caring children have the same problem.
> Does anyone have a solution?

You step up to the plate and shoulder your responsibility and get
his license pulled, just as I'm currently doing with my 92 year old
uncle who drives by ear.  The claim to be removing his "last link
with independence" is a strawman, something you're using to sidestep
your responsibility. (I've heard this argument in my family until I
could puke.)  If he can still live independently, there are a whole
variety of agencies who will provide him free transportation.  No,
it won't be as convenient as allowing him to wield a deadly weapon
with wild abandon but it's also inconvenient to deal with the
aftermath of the wreck.

Do you remember the Biblical admonition about once a man, twice a
child?  He's now in his second childhood, as is my uncle, and it is
YOUR responsibility to protect him just as he did you when you were
a child.  Funny, this is the same speech I gave my father (my
uncle's younger brother) trying to get him to act.  He didn't so
I've stepped up to the line and become the bad guy in the family.
Yes, your dad will be mad at you.  Yes, it will hurt.  But he's
mentally a child again in a man's body.  The roles reverse.  Step up
and assume the role of guardian of your father for his good as well
as ours.  It will be easier for you when you realize that the loss
of short term memory that comes with old age means he won't remember
being mad at you for long.  That was our experience when we had to
force my grandfather out of his house and into an assisted living
facility.  The first day he hated all of us.  The second day after
he discovered the cable TV (grandma would never let him have that)
and all the other geezers to swap war stories with, he was happy as
a clam and remaind that way until he died.  DO IT!


John De Armond
Neon John's Custom Neon
Cleveland, TN
"Bendin' Glass 'n Passin' Gas"

From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: OT - Florida Drivers License
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 03:05:27 -0400

Stan Birch wrote:

> John,
> What a breath of fresh air to hear a north-of-the-border expression of
> how we care for those we love---even after they commit the
> unpardonable sin of getting old.  And what a contrast to the southern
> yank-their-licence and lock'em-up-in-nursing-home attitude!  The
> greatness of a society is measured by how they take care of their
> sick, their elderly, and those less fortunate---and in our culture,
> that's what it means to be Canadian.
> I agree with everything your have said here. and my 25 year experience
> as an adjuster was the same as yours.  Out of thousands of cases I
> handled, only one was in any way related to age; and this involved an
> old guy that normally would have stuck close to his own
> route--grocery, doctor, church, bingo/slots.  He normally would never
> have ventured out on to a four-lane highway, but on this particular
> day his grand-daughter was getting married, so he attempted to drive
> from Toronto to Kingston. He didn't want to interfere with other
> drivers, so he putted along the shoulder at 20 mph, only venturing out
> onto the paved portion of the highway to get around overpasses---which
> finally resulted in a mishap. After that he decided to retire his
> licence for good.
> I think it's wonderful that your dad is still driving at 92 years of
> age, and hope he has many years of driving ahead. Sure older drivers
> get a little slower, and it's too bad that others are in so much of a
> rush that they would rather pull the plug on them, than try
> accommodate them---it's just easier to implement the Final Solution.
> And all the excuses they give for abusing those they should be taking
> care of, may help to sooth *their* consciences, but it's not something
> I could live with.
> Stan Birch
> Sharon, Ontario.

I think that this might take first prize as the most idiotic post of
the year.  This is the same rationalization that has some alcoholic
treatment programs telling the lushes that they can drink with
moderation.  Bullshit!  Pardon the language but you're flat crazy.

Your so-called experience is in stark contrast with what your own
industry says.  From the Insurance Information Institute
is the following:

Older drivers: The DOT says that "older drivers"
 (age 70 and older) have higher rates of fatal
 crashes than any other group except young
 drivers. In 1997, 17.7 million or 10 percent of all
 licensed drivers were over the age of 70. The
 number of over-70 drivers has grown 45 percent
 in a decade, while the total number of drivers rose
 only 13 percent. People over the age of 70 made
 up 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 13 percent of
 all vehicle occupant fatalities, and 18 percent of all
 pedestrian fatalities. Most fatalities involving older
 drivers occur during the daytime " 82 percent in
 1998 " and 72 percent happen on weekdays.
 Older-driver deaths are generally not associated
 with drinking " they have the lowest rates of
 intoxication of all adults in fatal crashes.

I suspect that they understate the matter, for a lot of minor geezer
accidents don't get reported.  Driving into poles and such.

If that's not enough for you, consider this 3 year old article:

The population is aging, and the number of
elderly drivers is increasing. Statistics show older
drivers have more traffic convictions and
accidents per mile than any other age group and
are more frequently cited for being at fault in
accidents. Studies suggest elderly drivers have
slower reaction times and poorer merging
behavior than their younger counterparts.

Or if you want it from the government,  Interesting

`On the basis of estimated annual travel,
the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over
is 9 times as high as the rate for
drivers 25 through 69 years old.'

To suggest that taking responsibility for one's elders in getting
dangerous drivers off the road is somehow cruel is myopic
foolishness at its worst.  I challenge you to produce even ONE 92
year old driver who has the eyesight, the mental processes and the
reaction times to drive in heavy traffic.  I bet you can't.  In
fact, I lay odds that the average 80+ year old driver would fare
worse in objective driving skills testing than a middle-aged or
younger person with 0.10 BAC.

I have no doubt that the geezer lobby - the most self-centered
generation in history - will flex their muscles to keep the
licensing laws ineffective against age-impaired drivers just like
they're about to loot America's pocketbook to buy their pills but it
doesn't make it right.

By the way, Stan, do you have any idea what an American-style
assisted living facility is like?  It's like a condo, only with
caregivers to see to the special needs.  Since the government now
steals half of what most people earn, requiring the spouses to work
to have what my parents had with a stay-at-home mom, there isn't
anyone left to take care of the elderly like there should be.
Assisted living is frightfully expensive but it's all that one can
do under the current tax and political climate.



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