SINGAPORE: After The Straits Times reported the car accident involving a 78-year-old man in Toa Payoh on May 19, a Singaporean took to an online forum to question ‘why old people are still allowed to drive.’

“This isn’t the first case of bizarre accidents involving old people,” he wrote.

“I heard they’re supposed to get some checkups to prove that they can drive above a certain age but I’m sure there will be doctors willing to close one eye and certify them, as there are doctors that do this for insurance claims.”

The Singaporean argued that elderly people should not be allowed to drive because they have slower reflexes, tend to drive at a slower pace, and frequently overlook important safety measures such as checking mirrors and blind spots. 

He also mentioned he was involved in two accidents with elderly drivers.

“First was when I was stopping at a traffic light and the driver didn’t stop and bang me. I was waiting at that junction for a while (not jam brake kind). Second was an old woman reversing into my stationary parked motorcycle.”

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“The worse are those old people riding motorcycles. You can never tell where they are going and can suddenly go very slowly or very fast.”

He then asked, “Is the government scared of the backlash if they enforce a maximum age for driving?”

“People above 70 really shouldn’t be driving.”

In the discussion thread, many Singaporeans agreed that people should be banned from driving once they reach a certain age. One individual said, “People above 70 really shouldn’t be driving.”

Another commented, “I second this, especially those with heart problems, or high cholesterol.

A neighbour of mine (he lives alone, no kids), who was about 73, recently got into a mega accident because his heart failed midway driving. He has been sent to an old folks home for recovery and his car is sitting in the house unrepaired.”

However, some people objected, pointing out that accidents happen to people of all ages. They even argued that young, impulsive people under 25 are more reckless and cause more traffic accidents.

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One individual shared, “I’ve had accidents and near misses thanks to both demographics. For young hotheads, it’s overconfidence and lack of experience. For old folks, it is poor awareness, vision and reaction times.”

Several Singaporeans also suggested that rather than banning older drivers, the focus should be on dealing with doctors who let unfit drivers pass their tests.

One person even claimed, “The checkup is just wayang. I know because my dad went for the checkup last year and he said the doctor didn’t even do any tests and passed him.”

Others contributed ideas on how to improve the reliability of these assessments. They suggested elderly drivers should have health checkups for vision, hearing, mental abilities, and heart and muscle conditions.

Additionally, they proposed a refresher driving course every two years and evaluations of their actual driving skills.

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