The Aging Driver: A NYT Debate

Prompted by Google's latest invention - the car that drives itself, the NYT sought four different perspectives on how to approach the onslaught of aging baby boomers behind the wheel: An M.I.T. scientist, Rand economist, Yale doctor, and an AARP V.P.
October 22, 2010, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The four present different solutions - from denying there is a problem in the first place because senior have less crashes proportionate to other groups, to "pushing the car" by enhancing 'intelligent technology', to re-engineering the driver herself through the marvels of surgery. Only one presented a clear, livable communities agenda where cars were not necessary.

Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the AgeLab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote: "Onboard computers warn of possible collisions, compensate for declining vision, and enable active safety systems to take control reducing the impact of a crash. Beyond these innovations is a vision of the driverless car, autonomous of human control and error. " [See YouTube at bottom of this column from AgeLab on the car for the aging driver....or any driver, for that matter].

Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president of AARP, acknowledged the "clear connection between non-driving, and social isolation and deterioration of physical and mental health". And AARP's main solution?

"The bottom line is that we need to make our communities more livable and can start by improving the ways we help people safely and effectively get from one place to another."

Thanks to Kenyon Karl

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, October 21, 2010 in The New York Times - Opinion - Room For Debate
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