Monday, June 12, 2006

Regular Driver Testing Needed

" Accused driver legally blind" screamed the headline in the local newspaper on June 10, 2006. The driver referred to had struck and killed a cyclist earlier this year. He had, according to the article, been declared legally blind some two decades ago, yet he was still driving! How does this happen? All too easily. Here in Pennsylvania, all vehicles must pass a yearly safety inspection. The same is not true of their operators. Once someone obtains a driver's license, usually at the age of 16 or 17, he or she essentially has that license for the rest of their life, so long as they stop in every five years to get a new picture taken. No regard is given as to whether or not these people remain physically or mentally fit to be operating a vehicle. No tests are administered, no questions asked. Just a new picture and a new card. Yet every year, they are required to spend tens or sometimes hundreds of dollars to be sure that the vehicle being driven is in safe condition. Unfortunately, no matter how safe a vehicle is, if the driver cannot see well enough, or cannot react quickly enough to a situation, it is an accident waiting to happen. The time has come, in fact it is long past, for regular testing of our drivers. Instead of just a new picture and new card every five years, tests of eyesight, hearing, reaction time and even the rules of the road should be administered. Those who cannot pass these tests should no longer be behind the wheel. Just as in the case of DUI, one death or injury caused by a driver who can no longer see or otherwise safely operate a vehicle is one death or injury too many.

So Sayeth The Shack

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