Popular AM radio host takes aim at baby boomer drivers – are you upset?

Drive-time radio host of 3AW Weekdays, Tom Elliott, has argued that current ideals surrounding driving ages in Victoria are not
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Drive-time radio host of 3AW Weekdays, Tom Elliott, has argued that current ideals surrounding driving ages in Victoria are not good enough and anyone over the age of 75 should have to prove they are fit to be behind the wheel.

In an article written for The Herald Sun, Elliott addresses VicRoads suggestions that close family members, doctors and carers should report anyone they know is unable to drive, stating “in theory that practice sounds fine. After all, why wouldn’t a concerned son or daughter want to keep a dementia-afflicted 80-year-old off the road?”

However, he points out that this is not always the case, “middle-aged children are reluctant to report their elderly parents due to the resentment subsequent loss of mobility might provoke.”

Instead of this, ‘dob in system’, he has proposed that “anyone ovTher the age of 75 must lose the right to drive if they can’t prove their faculties are up to scratch.”

His arguments come in the wake of fatal accident, where father of two Darren Booth was killed on Tuesday waiting to pick his children up at St Leonard’s College in Brighton East.

Police suspect a grandmother lost control of her vehicle and ran through a school fence 12 metres away from the road, resulting in the death of Mr Booth.

Elliott argues, “such tragedies involving senior motorists shouldn’t occur…FAR too many older drivers are causing serious accidents on our roads” and VicRoads need to address this through a similar system in NSW. All license holders “over 75 in NSW are to prove via an annual medical test that they’re competent to drive. And after 85 that must be accompanied every second year by a practical driving assessment. Those exams represent a harsh but fair mechanism designed to reduce traffic fatalities” he says.

Elliott acknowledges that growing old is a hard reality to face, “what we gain in experience, memories and gravitas is unfortunately counterbalanced by thinning hair, receding gums, failing eyesight and diminished reactions” he says.

“Getting out of bed becomes a little harder each day. Looking from side to side becomes a whole body motion rather than just a swivelling of the neck. Sometimes we forget what we’re supposed to be doing. And driving a two-tonne car through dense traffic becomes a daunting task.”

But he argues that once we hit 70, “things go downhill. All of the physical qualities needed to safely operate a car — eyesight, reaction time and hearing — begin to deteriorate.”

“To compensate, some older motorists cruise well below the speed limit, occasionally wander out of their lane and sometimes confuse the accelerator pedal with the brake, with devastating results. The accident statistics don’t lie; after 18-25-year-olds, drivers beyond 65 suffer the most traffic accidents.”

He admits that he dreads the thought of not being able to drive but, “far worse is the possibility I hurt or kill someone by driving when I’m past it.”

Ultimately, he is pushing for Victorians to follow the lead of NSW, failing medical or practical tests for drivers over 75 that are clearly not up to operating a vehicle.

“A driver’s licence is not a right; rather it’s a privilege that age sadly — and inevitably — denies all of us.”

What do you think about this? Should we have an age limit on driving?

  1. Quote…”anyone over the age of 75 should have to prove they are fit to be behind the wheel. Anyone at any age should have to prove they are fit to drive… I think we should have tests every couple of years.. It will never happen, costs too much, but it should…

    • Agree. Its not only the over 75’s that can develop medical problems and or sight problems.

    • I’ve always believed we should be retested every couple of years. Theory as well as driving. Laws change, so many of the older drivers do not keep up with the changes. To quote one elderly driver I know “It wasn’t the law when I learned so I don’t have to do it”! HUH? Anyway, yes, we all need to be retested every couple of years. It would help straighten out the bad habits we have ALL picked up over the 40 plus years we have been driving.

    • Having to help teenagers learn the road rules is probably the closest thing us older drivers came to updating our road skills. I think at least every 10 years there should be a test.

  2. Quote…”anyone over the age of 75 should have to prove they are fit to be behind the wheel. Anyone at any age should have to prove they are fit to drive… I think we should have tests every couple of years.. It will never happen, costs too much, but it should…

    • Agree. Its not only the over 75’s that can develop medical problems and or sight problems.

    • I’ve always believed we should be retested every couple of years. Theory as well as driving. Laws change, so many of the older drivers do not keep up with the changes. To quote one elderly driver I know “It wasn’t the law when I learned so I don’t have to do it”! HUH? Anyway, yes, we all need to be retested every couple of years. It would help straighten out the bad habits we have ALL picked up over the 40 plus years we have been driving.

    • Having to help teenagers learn the road rules is probably the closest thing us older drivers came to updating our road skills. I think at least every 10 years there should be a test.

  3. Neta Williams  

    So this fellow has never made a mistake with his car pedals, never gone over the speed limit so he really must be a saint on the road. How dare some jumped up little pup say that we are too old to drive. I hope when he reaches sixty-five his kids take his licence off him.

  4. I do a road trip every 6-8 weeks down the Hume around Melbourne, back up the Calder to north Victoria, along the Hay Plain and back to the Hume for the last leg. I wonder if Elliot would like to view the videos from my dash-cams. Yes plural…I have one facing out the rear window. It is not the baby boomers who are a danger on the roads!

  5. I do a road trip every 6-8 weeks down the Hume around Melbourne, back up the Calder to north Victoria, along the Hay Plain and back to the Hume for the last leg. I wonder if Elliot would like to view the videos from my dash-cams. Yes plural…I have one facing out the rear window. It is not the baby boomers who are a danger on the roads!

  6. Tom ……. I would guess far too many young drivers cause a lot more road deaths & trauma than over 75-ers. It’s just this recent terrible accident that’s made people aware BUT every week there’s too many young people’s deaths & accidents

  7. Tom ……. I would guess far too many young drivers cause a lot more road deaths & trauma than over 75-ers. It’s just this recent terrible accident that’s made people aware BUT every week there’s too many young people’s deaths & accidents

  8. I thought we were supposed to be heading toward driverless cars. We won’t need any tests then will we?

  9. I thought we were supposed to be heading toward driverless cars. We won’t need any tests then will we?

  10. This week, 4 people pulled out in front of me and not one of them was a “baby boomer”. They were all younger drivers…..

  11. This week, 4 people pulled out in front of me and not one of them was a “baby boomer”. They were all younger drivers…..

    • Those young Mothers in their 4 wheel drives think they own the road they do something wrong then scream at the poor driver who didn’t

    • Yep that is true noe i keep the regulation 3 seconds of the car in front and often in a line of traffic of which i am the last in line people will either pull out or do a right or left hand turn in front of me. So it is on with the brakes and a couple of naughty thoughts…but…gee i was the last in line and extra 3 seconds and the could have done what was essentially stupid and dangeroous in perfect safety ….and….they are always young drivers not necessaril p platers but people under forty. I often say to a passenger if this happens that it is almost as if i have a big sign which says SUCKER meaning they no i will brake only trouble is ibe day my brakes just might fail to operate. They are too trusting by half.

    • Don”t forget about the mobile phone users…..females in their teens to those in their fourties are the worst for that. Just today I was blocked by a women in her fourties using her phone..she stopped behind me as I was reversing out of my parking spot …she had absolutely no idea I was even there! I had to get out of my car and ask her to move Amazing!

  12. You’ve got your dates wrong. Baby Boomers were born between 1945 – 1955. Name came from the Post War Boom. History 101.

    • I agree Cherril. There are no 75 year old baby boomers yet. The oldest ones will be around the 71 year mark this year. At least get that right Mr DJ.

    • Faye  

      Exactly, it always annoys me when people write this. It is completely wrong.

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