Friday, April 4, 2008

Oh McGoo, You’ve Done It Again!

Remember the old cartoon show Mr. McGoo? Voiced by the late comic actor Jim Backus, Mr. McGoo was a character depicting a senior citizen with appallingly bad eyesight. Whenever he lost or forgot his glasses, which was frequently, mayhem would follow, usually when he was behind the wheel. It was great entertainment and very funny. Today, it would be seen as politically incorrect and presenting a stereotypical image which discriminates against the elderly, excuse me, seniors.

Of course, it should be a matter of common sense that as we get older things like eyesight can begin to fail. When you are driving a motor car, such things have a direct bearing on the safety of both yourself, and other road users. That’s why it’s hard to understand why some people are still criticizing the new rules for senior drivers.

Older drivers will now be required to undertake a driving test, or an assessment every two years after they turn 85. But that is actually less onerous than the previous requirement to be tested every year. In addition, they will also be required to take a medical test every year from the age of 75. Now that’s not really an imposition when most people in that age group are getting regular check ups anyway.

In the end, surely the safety issues are more important than any ego driven concerns about age discrimination. In fact, if it makes the whingers happy, I would be quite willing to have increased testing for all drivers. That is both driving tests and medical tests. Why shouldn’t we have to demonstrate our competency every time we renew our licence? That way, I’d be a lot more confident about the abilities of all the “other idiots” on the road that we are always warned about.

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