APPROXIMATELY 23 million licensed drivers 65 years or older currently drive on our roadways; and with the prediction of a rapidly aging society, we expect more and more older persons to share the road. It is estimated that 20 years from now, nearly 25% of all drivers will be older than 65 years, an increase from 15% today. For those who firmly believe that the older driver is, or will soon be, a hazardous driver, these demographic trends presage an emerging public health crisis. There is a public outcry to reduce this perceived threat. We find ourselves in the midst of a debate that pits our core values of personal freedom and individual autonomy against the goal of protection of public safety through the powers of the state. The most common solution offered involves creating laws and regulations that would be broadly applied to all older drivers, ultimately restricting licensing based solely on a driver's age. Will this approach, in fact, truly protect the public interest?
Mindy J. Fain, MD
Rate of motor vehicle crashes per licensed driver by age in 1996 (data from the US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1998).
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Internal Medicine editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 11
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience
Moral and Legal Framework
Users' Guides to the Medical Literature
All results at
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.