How old is too old to drive?

Wednesday, November 5th 2008, 12:23 pm

By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

Age and wheels could be a deadly combination on Oklahoma roads. As the population gets older, the risk of deadly car accidents increases.

Oklahoma doesn't have a law that requires older drivers to retest or give up their license. It's up to loved ones or individuals to put the brakes on driving.

Arville Rasco is 88-year-old and proud to be behind the wheel. Despite his doctors warning, it's a part of his life he doesn't want to give up.

"If I want to go somewhere, I can get in the car and go," Rasco said.

Even his children have threatened to take away his car after he was in a roll-over accident.

"I had a fear of getting on the highway again, as much traffic as there is," Rasco said. "It's still on my mind because I could have been killed, and I'm not ready to go yet."

He's not ready to quit yet either, even though he has had other close calls including during our shoot.

He didn't see an oncoming car until it was almost too late.

According to the AARP, the other 60 percent are while changing lanes, left turns, or right-of-way situations.

In this AARP Driver Safety Program, Charles Reffner helps older drivers brush up on the rules of the road, as well as discusses how physical changes can affect them behind the wheel.

"How do we compensate for reaction time not being as good as it used to be or our depth perception is not as accurate as it once was?" Reffner said.

Some of these drivers will have a better sense of when it's time to limit their driving or turn in the keys.

"It's easy to hit the gas instead of the brake and all those kind of things when you're not really on top of things," Reffner said.

Sarah Wise spends a lot more time indoors these days. She decided to quit driving five months ago. She now relies on friends or retirement community employees to take her places.

"You ask me a year ago, I would have said I'd never give up driving, but there comes a time when other people might be safer if you do and I just felt like it was the thing to do," Wise said.

She doesn't want to be the cause of a deadly accident.

Now 12 states have passed laws that require drivers 65 and older to take a driven or written exam to maintain a driver's license.

Oklahoma requires all drivers, regardless of age, to take a vision test at the time of renewal. Some wonder if that's enough.

But changing state law for senior citizens comes with mixed emotions.

If you or someone you know could benefit from a refresher course. The AARP holds a driver safety class at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. You can call 957-2277 or visit the AARP's Web site.


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