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In Ohio and nationally, more older drivers on the road

A clear case of driver negligence that has been reported widely in the media took the lives of two people in Iowa last year and could easily have resulted in far worse consequences for two others. The story has been raised often nationally to illustrate the growing concerns that safety officials and law enforcement agencies across the country -- including in Ohio -- are expressing regarding aged drivers and car accidents.

To be sure, drawing special attention to older drivers and car crashes is something that many commentators take pains to not overplay. They routinely note, for example, that the group of motorists that most concerns safety regulators, police officers and the great majority of drivers on the road is teen drivers, with clear statistical evidence that they are by far the most dangerous drivers on American streets and interstates.

Having noted that, though, there is equally clear evidence that especially old drivers run a close second for being problematic. Many of them are certainly adequate and completely safe behind the wheel, with indicators widely reporting that a great many older drivers are actually more cautious and risk averse than drivers of other ages. Statistics also show, though, that the rate of fatal motor vehicle collisions for all drivers is highest among those over 80.

The driver in Iowa was 94. He ran a stop sign and hit another car. He and his wife died following the collision, and a passenger in the other vehicle broke her neck. The man had failed a required road test shortly before the accident, but was driving on a temporary permit.

More than half of all states impose some restrictions on aging drivers, such as a requirement that they take a road or vision test following a certain age. Ohio is not one of those states, having no licensing renewal provisions that solely single out older drivers.

Source: Slate, "Give me the keys, dad," Emily Yoffe, March 7, 2012

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