Berger’s Burg: Getting senior citizens to stop driving easier said than done

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A car accident for some seniors is when they make in their pants while driving.

Have you heard? Children are debating the question: Should Pop continue driving? Ironically, they are the same kids whom Pop taught to drive and stayed up all hours of the night worrying about when they took the car to their prom — not forgetting the times Pop drove them to social events, baseball games, etc.

And the cruelest blow of all, Pop bought them their first car.

Now they say, “Sorry, Dad, I think it’s time you handed over the car keys.”

Discussing this issue with aging loved ones is always far from welcome. Some automobiles now display a device for seniors. If they run over somebody, the exhaust will spray the victim with amoxicillin and a get-well card will drop down on the victim’s chest.

An AARP study indicates a dramatic rise in driver deaths per miles driven after age 75. The cause for this spike is, of course, the seniors’ impaired vision, deteriorating hearing, slower reflexes and flexibility. As a result, many families say it is time to face this problem.

A senior failed her driving test: She ran over her tester.

By the year 2030, one in four drivers in the United States will be 65 or older, the year when the last of the Baby Boomers turns 65 — a frightening reality. When should younger kin talk to their parent or grandparent?

A senior citizen stuck out her hand to make a left turn and ruptured the cop directing traffic.

First, flag two tell-tale signals of apparent impaired driving fitness: one or more auto accidents and the number of police warnings or tickets in the past five years. Then count the recent close calls and look for an accumulation of scratches and dents on the car. Finally, does the relative have trouble seeing over the steering wheel, have difficulty in turning to look back and gets lost often when driving? Add the fact that the city is the nation’s worst for road rage. So weigh these benchmarks and it may be time to bring out the slippers.

“Those aren’t dents on my ’37 Chevy. They’re wrinkles.”

Surprisingly, this problem has been around a long time. I came across a newspaper article printed 100 years ago that is appropriate. Read carefully:

“We judge that it is a fearful thing [for a pedestrian] to cross the path of an automobile [because the driver] is usually in such a hurry to get to the place he is bound for. He does not stop for anything less than a stone wall .... Registration should be required for those who drive horseless vehicles. The utter disregard for the rights and safety of others frequently exhibited by many of them is deserving of the severest penalties.”

I bet many a granny back then were relieved of their keys to their horseless carriages for recklessly tooling down Olde Belle Boulevarde, fulfilling the motto of concerned relatives: “’Tis far better to make certain auto licenses expire before granny does.”

Consider these two anecdotes which may help in determining when to pull the keys.

An elderly lady did her shopping and upon returning to her car, found four males in her vehicle. She drew her handgun and screamed at them, “I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of my car, you dastardly cads!” The four men got out and ran away. The lady was so shaken, she could not get her key into the ignition.

It finally dawned on her that she had the wrong car. She got out and found her own car five spaces away, whereupon she drove to the police station. The sergeant bent over with laughter and pointed to four males who were reporting a car-jacking by a mad elderly woman 5-feet tall with glasses and gray hair and packing a large handgun. No charges were filed.

A husband driving in traffic yells to his wife holding an M-1 rifle, “Sadie, I’m making a left turn. Cover me!”

In another instance, a police car was summoned to free an aged couple asleep in a car. The windows were closed, the doors were locked and the motor was idling. Fearful the couple would be harmed by the gas fumes, the police banged on the glass. The couple could not be roused, so the police broke a window and unlocked the car. Groggily, the sleeping duo thanked their heroes. Two hours later, they presented the police with a bill for $32.15 to cover the cost of the broken glass. Lawyers advised the police to shut up and pay. And they did.

So, if you ask me when is the proper time to sit your granny down %u2026 do not ask.

Happy birthday, Gloria.

Contact Alex Berger at

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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