Unfair to restrict driving licences for elderly, says society

KUCHING: The police's proposal to restrict driving licence issuance to senior citizens to reduce the number of accidents on roads is deemed unfair for elderly drivers.

Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatrics Society (SGGS) president Dennis Tan said such a proposal is unfair to senior citizens as there are no statistics from the police to show that they are among the main contributors to road accidents in the country.

"It is our belief that most road accidents are caused by young people driving recklessly, overtaking along narrow roads, speeding or beating traffic lights or even when they are drunk.

"We also feel that it is too much to single out senior citizens to undergo medical check-up and get the doctor's confirmation of their health condition before they can be issued with the licences," he said in a statement today.

Tan said health issues, such as blurred vision, is not a reason to stop them from renewing licences.

He said blurred vision can be rectified by putting on a pair of glasses, just like anyone else having sight problems.

He said if such conditions are to be imposed on senior citizens, then, it should also apply equally to younger people as there are many of them having similar health issues.

"Therefore, there is no need to impose such conditions as senior citizens know when to stop driving vehicles, like when they are having health conditions such as Azheimer's or other serious illnesses."

Tan said many senior citizens, even at the age of 70 years and above, are still healthy and actively contributing to society in their own ways.

Instead of going after senior citizens, the police should go after mentally ill persons, substance abusers and repeated traffic offenders as they are more likely to cause road accidents than senior citizens.

Yesterday (Friday), Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Datuk Azisman Alias called for driving licence issuance to senior citizens to be restricted.

He said the health condition of a motorist was a factor which contributed to accidents. He said diseases such as Alzheimer's and eye problems are among the health issues faced by elderly motorists.

According to him, senior citizens also need to undergo a doctor's examination and get a letter confirming that they are fit to drive.

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