Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drivers with dementia

CBC News reports today that old drivers with dementia are a grave and growing danger on the road -- by 2027 there'll be about 270,000 of these old hellions on wheels. The only way to track them is through their doctors, but the docs aren't always able to diagnose if they're fit to drive or not, plus they're under pressure not to report the problem. The wrath of old folks that have been taken off the road is apparently just not worth the trouble of keeping them safe, so they continue to wheel around out there:

"There is growing concern in Canada abo
ut elderly people with dementia who are still driving. CBC News has used Ontario data cited in the paper to extrapolate there will be about 270,000 Canadian drivers with varying degrees of dementia by 2027." [...] Doctors often report that patients get angry when told they are no longer fit to drive, which can lead them to terminate the doctor-patient relationship, the paper said.

Dr. William Malloy, a geriatrician in Hamilton, told CBC News that one of his elderly patients in a nursing home couldn't recognize his children, but knew exactly who his physician was.

"I walk in and the guy goes, 'There is the bastard who took my driver's licence away,'" Malloy said."

Living in a popular retirement area, I can vouch for the fact that there are a lot of old folks out there that are a Menace on the road. Some of them aren't even competent to drive those little scooters, let alone the big honkin' Caddies they usually pilot around. Many times I've had them sit and wait to make a turn, looking right at me as I approach -- then when I'm 2 feet away from them, they pull out in front of me, staring me right in the eyes all the while. If it weren't for my own excellent reflexes, they'd be toast. In fact, my superior driving skills have probably saved an untold number of these peoples' lives, and I get my license lifted???!! Now I'm really pissed!