Last week, officials called for senior citizens’ screening before getting their driving license renewed. Datuk Azisman Alias, director of Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department issued this statement on Friday, 24th September.
“Elderly people are more likely to suffer from health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and blurred vision, which can indirectly cause a road accident.”
He said that senior citizens should also undergo a medical check-up and get approval from a doctor, stating that they are fit to drive.
“There was a case where a senior citizen was caught driving on a motorcycle lane. The government needs to look into this issue,” he told a press conference at Bukit Aman on Friday.
As you can expect, not everyone agreed to this. Amongst those who spoke out were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka, who referenced 96-year-old former-prime minister Tun Mahathir, saying the nonagenarian’s driving skills are better than that of younger drivers on the road.
“The competency level of every driver is different. Like Langkawi (Dr Mahathir), he can drive far better than ‘orang-orang gila’ (reckless drivers) on the road.”
Wee stressed on the issue of age discrimination in a speech held in Dewan Rakyat while noting on reports proposing restrictions on the issuance of driving licenses to the elderly.
“We must not discriminate against drivers who are above 70 years old. This is not the ministry’s stand, and we don’t intend to change (this policy),” he said, adding that many other factors also contribute to traffic accidents.
A number of groups have also rejected the idea, including the Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatrics Society (SGGS), which countered this by saying that there are no statistics showing that the elderly are among the highest contributors to road accidents in the country.
President of the association, Dennis Tan, reverted the blame to young people who drive recklessly, and that the police should instead go after the mentally ill, substance abusers and repeat traffic offenders instead of the elderly.
What’s your take? My reputation precedes me as a Subang driver but I promise I always signal!