Swickard: We need real driving tests

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   One great adventure is driving. From sitting safely in your home within seconds we can be at the edge of death. Just seconds. Turn the key and away we go. Most of the time we are fine.
            Our society has a blind spot. There are people who should not be driving. It is not that they cannot drive down a road. It’s they cannot deal with emergencies.
            After one large and three small driving issues, I took the keys away from an older relative. He was unhappy but that’s my job. Then I would see him out in the second car trying to start it.
            Nope, I fixed the car since he no longer had a driver’s license. He’d say, “I think I can still drive the car.” I would reply, “That car will take you right to the scene of the accident and you will be there ten minutes before the police. That gives you ten minutes to think of a reason why you are driving without a license.”
            He didn’t like it but saw the humor. Truthfully, he could drive but he was unable to deal with emergency situations. We owe our older citizens to take the keys away before a wreck.
            More so, we don’t test this aspect of driving. When renewing a license there’s no test to check those skills. In flying there is and it should be something we do with driving.
            Likewise, there is the notion that someone can drink and drive providing it isn’t past a limit. However, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving” means any impairment is potentially fatal.
            We talk a good game of safety but we don’t play the game. Example: I was standing in line and a person was describing that they had their sixth accident that year. Yikes! Why does that person have a driver’s license?
            Yes, we hear often of drivers driving on suspended licenses. The consequences of violating the law must be robust enough to stop all but the most egregious offenders and those we will have to incarcerate for our own safety.
            Are we going to get serious about safety or is it such a good living for the accident lawyers and undertakers? We need to have driving academies for anyone in an accident whither our fault or not. And, for everyone we need rigorous driving tests every two years. This needs to be not just for commercial drivers but for all drivers.
            Our society must take away the driving privileges of those people no longer able to deal with emergencies. It is not good enough to get the car in gear, like flying, every two years we must recertify our ability to deal with life or death driving situations.
            Yes, I know my license to drive will most likely be taken from me some day. Shuckins. But it is better safe than sorry. It would be nice if it was the driving tests that show my inability to handle emergencies rather than a real emergency.