What do we do about out-of-control young drivers?

Dear Editor:

In his thoughtful article on “What to do about aging drivers,” Ezrah Ochshorn treats the subjects of aging drivers and younger drivers who are in denial!

He recalls that an 86-year-old motorist plowed into a farmer’s market and killed 10 people, he suggests that senior citizens should be selected out of the population and given driving tests. Substitute the following for senior citizens: 1) blacks; 2) Hispanics; 3) Asian Americans; 4) women; 5) felons; 6) etc. and you can see how such selections would be discriminatory and possibly a violation of the Civil Rights Act.

Statistics dealing with the driving practices of these categories are not mentioned because it would be politically incorrect and would have the newspaper editorial staff on trial.

Ochshorn did not mention the 46-year-old diabetic driver in Florida who blacked out, plowed through an intersection and killed six people. Perhaps Ochshorn’s eyesight is failing (in which case the government should require that he take an eye test, as it does every 10 years in NJ) and he was reading only selectively to a conclusion he had already made.

In furtherance of his diatribe against the senior population, he mentions that, on a per mile basis, they have higher accident rates than all but the youngest drivers. A pundit once said there are liars, damn liars, and statistics, suggesting that a statistic is chosen to back up a conclusion already made.

What about statistics that record accidents on a per year basis? Senors are in the lowest accident-rate category. You might say, but younger persons drive significantly more miles than seniors, thus the comparison is not fair. Does an accident victim care that the younger driver drove more miles? No! S(h)e only cares that the accident happened and s(h)e has, at that point, little concern for statistics.

Younger drivers are in denial because they have heard about their superior reaction times (needed, because they drive too fast) and are attracted both to speeding and action cars. Couple this with their predilection to use drugs, drink too much and engage in show off driving, and you can see why insurance companies charge higher premiums than it does for the senior category.

Chew on that for a while!

Warmest personal regards,
Frank X. Landrigan


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