Letter: Reconsider driving restrictions on senior citizens

The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) recently proposed for restrictions to be made on the issuance of driving licences to senior citizens, in the nation’s collective effort to reduce traffic accidents. 

Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director, Deputy Comm Datuk Azisman Alias, reasoned that it is a necessary move as the health conditions of senior citizens, such as Alzheimers and blurred vision, may lead to accidents on the road. He also suggested for them to undergo medical check-ups and obtain approval from their doctors before they are allowed to continue driving. 

Below is a letter Ipoh Echo received from Ipoh’s Dato’ Daniel Tay regarding his opinion on the matter. 

It is important for vehicle drivers aged 60 and above to be mobile. I have been the president of the YMCA of Ipoh for more than 10 consecutive years, and I continue to serve in that capacity. I was also President of the Ipoh Swimming Club for a number of years. There are many senior citizens aged 60 and above who regularly visit both clubs for lawn tennis, ballroom dancing, flower arrangement, gym activity, dinners, table tennis and even badminton during the pre-pandemic years. Many of them also swim to keep fit. 

Putting fetters on their driving is not the most desirable. Requiring them to undergo some medical evaluation before their driving licence can be renewed would impede their movement and mental (even physical) health. 

However, with all said and done, the safety of road users is of paramount importance. We can hope to look at some data. We can place vehicle drivers in three tentative categories. The first group will be those aged 20-40, the second 40-60 and the third 60-80. The JPJ would have the figures, while the police may have records of drivers involved in accidents. Reviewing those data would give us an idea on which category of drivers is involved in more accidents. I would be surprised if drivers aged 60-80 are involved in more accidents than their younger friends.



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