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Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over Elderly Drivers

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  • rickrise@earthlink.net
    From: Richard Speaks for itself. Worth the registration hassle to read this. ... Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over Elderly Drivers ... Santa Monica
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 18, 2003
      From: Richard

      Speaks for itself. Worth the registration hassle to read this.

      --------------------
      Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over Elderly Drivers
      --------------------

      Santa Monica tragedy brings an agonizing topic out in the open. Adult children switch roles with parents who once seized their keys.

      By Nita Lelyveld, Paul Pringle and Nancy Wride
      Times Staff Writers

      July 18 2003

      Mary Louise Nelson, 82, and her daughter, Wendy Winningham, make each other laugh and finish each other's sentences. But when their conversation Thursday turned to the 86-year-old man who drove through the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, there was awkwardness.

      The complete article can be viewed at:
      http://www.latimes.com/la-me-driver18jul18,0,3888029.story

      Visit Latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com
    • Simon Baddeley
      Is this not a conversation that at some time or another should be surfaced among all families and between generations? At present we don t seem to know how to
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
        Is this not a conversation that at some time or another should be surfaced
        among all families and between generations? At present we don't seem to know
        how to have such a talk/negotiation - call it whatever - but I refer
        to the inventory of conversations between those close to one another by
        which civil duty is negotiated at the level of the family.

        We may discuss future domestic arrangements and care with our parents (if
        young) or younger relatives (if old) - but when it comes to when it's
        appropriate to
        give up the keys of the car and refigure transport arrangements to ensure
        dignity, convenience and safety .... a silence.

        There could - among other things - be public service ads showing this
        conversation being assayed - with failed and successful examples and their
        good or fatal consequence.

        Simon

        Simon Baddeley
        Birmingham UK

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <rickrise@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 12:39 AM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over Elderly
        Drivers
        Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over Elderly Drivers
        Santa Monica tragedy brings an agonizing topic out in the open. Adult
        children switch roles with parents who once seized their keys.> Mary Louise
        Nelson, 82, and her daughter, Wendy Winningham, make each other laugh and
        finish each other's sentences. But when their conversation Thursday turned
        to the 86-year-old man who drove through the Santa Monica Farmers' Market,
        there was awkwardness.
      • look384
        Although denying citizens who cannot operate a motor vehicle safely (elderly, handicapped, etc) the privelege to drive is important, it does little to address
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
          Although denying citizens who cannot operate a motor vehicle safely
          (elderly, handicapped, etc) the privelege to drive is important, it
          does little to address the fundamental problem, which is in the US
          you must drive if you want to fully participate in life. I believe a
          better long-term solution is to create an environment where people
          can be active and fully involved in society without having to drive
          or depend on others to drive for them. This means walking, handicap
          access and public transportation need to be provided as a real
          option, which will require very different city development than
          currently exists in the US.

          This tragedy was as much a result of our built-in dependence on the
          automobile as the way society deals with those not able to drive
          safely. Failure to deal with the fundamental problem will at best
          change one problem (unsafe elderly drivers) to another (lonely,
          isolated and dependent citizens). Creating an environment where
          people can move about without depending on cars has a much greater
          chance of solving the problem of unfit drivers without contributing
          to another major problem.

          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Simon Baddeley"
          <s.j.baddeley@b...> wrote:
          > Is this not a conversation that at some time or another should be
          surfaced
          > among all families and between generations? At present we don't
          seem to know
          > how to have such a talk/negotiation - call it whatever - but I refer
          > to the inventory of conversations between those close to one
          another by
          > which civil duty is negotiated at the level of the family.
          >
          > We may discuss future domestic arrangements and care with our
          parents (if
          > young) or younger relatives (if old) - but when it comes to when
          it's
          > appropriate to
          > give up the keys of the car and refigure transport arrangements to
          ensure
          > dignity, convenience and safety .... a silence.
          >
          > There could - among other things - be public service ads showing
          this
          > conversation being assayed - with failed and successful examples
          and their
          > good or fatal consequence.
          >
          > Simon
          >
          > Simon Baddeley
          > Birmingham UK
          >
        • Simon Baddeley
          Quite right. I took my eye off the ball there. Simon ... From: look384 To: Sent: Saturday, July
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
            Quite right. I took my eye off the ball there.

            Simon


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "look384" <kevin.barton@...>
            To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 6:54 PM
            Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over
            Elderly Drivers


            > Although denying citizens who cannot operate a motor vehicle safely
            > (elderly, handicapped, etc) the privelege to drive is important, it
            > does little to address the fundamental problem, which is in the US
            > you must drive if you want to fully participate in life.
          • Louis-Luc
            You have the solution. That s what I feel as well. Most cities in Canada and U.S. are badly designed. If you can t access to all essential services within a
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
              You have the solution. That's what I feel as well. Most
              cities in Canada and U.S. are badly designed. If you
              can't access to all essential services within a maximum
              of 10 minutes, assuming you're a slow walker, that
              city has the status of "badly designed".

              Low vision or blind people have NO handicap if they
              can walk everywhere without more hazards than the
              elements and normal non-moving obstacles. Provided they
              make it with aids if necessary like telescopes, white
              canes and/or guide dogs. Elderly keep their youth and
              autonomy if they can walk everywhere without any
              hazards, no matter their speed or aids they use.
              Wheelchair users have NO handicap if they can roll
              everywhere and money is spent on access ramps rather
              than gas vehicles they depend on.

              A person with at best no eye, ear, leg, aging or
              mental problem still HAS a handicap if that person
              cannot do everything on foot, on bike or using
              transit.

              Therefore, using a car as a crutch shows much more the
              weakness of the person, if he/she lives in a place
              where it's possible to live carfree, otherwise using
              a car shows the weakness of the city design and
              infrastructures.

              Are most governments and industries creating a world
              of handicapped people?
              I guess so :-( Unless some open minded people do
              something to override this car-centric development
              by a human-scaled city design¸


              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: look384 [mailto:kevin.barton@...]
              > Sent: 19 juillet, 2003 13:55
              > To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate Over
              > Elderly Drivers
              >
              >
              > Although denying citizens who cannot operate a motor vehicle safely
              > (elderly, handicapped, etc) the privelege to drive is important, it
              > does little to address the fundamental problem, which is in the US
              > you must drive if you want to fully participate in life. I believe a
              > better long-term solution is to create an environment where people
              > can be active and fully involved in society without having to drive
              > or depend on others to drive for them. This means walking, handicap
              > access and public transportation need to be provided as a real
              > option, which will require very different city development than
              > currently exists in the US.
              >
              > This tragedy was as much a result of our built-in dependence on the
              > automobile as the way society deals with those not able to drive
              > safely. Failure to deal with the fundamental problem will at best
              > change one problem (unsafe elderly drivers) to another (lonely,
              > isolated and dependent citizens). Creating an environment where
              > people can move about without depending on cars has a much greater
              > chance of solving the problem of unfit drivers without contributing
              > to another major problem.
            • dubluth
              The fundamental problem exists in large part because people haven t recognized the advantages of doing something about it. I don t know if people simply
              Message 6 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
                The fundamental problem exists in large part because people haven't
                recognized the advantages of doing something about it. I don't know
                if people simply aren't considering that in the future they may
                experience advanced age or some condition that makes them unable to
                competently drive. (Clearly some people don't consider this. I
                really don't know of elderly people turning in their car keys without
                already having repeatedly demonstrating their incompetence at driving
                by crashing into things. It will be worth asking my folks what they
                know about this.) These conversations will reasonably be among those
                that proceed more pedestrian oriented development. Who knows. Maybe
                we will learn from those conversations that some of our parents and
                older friends have actually thought this through.

                By the way, I just heard a plug for the NPR radio program _To the
                Point_. The question posed in the next broadcast is something like
                "should the US change to being less car reliant before much of its
                population reaches advanced age?"


                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Simon Baddeley" <s.j.
                baddeley@b...> wrote:
                > Quite right. I took my eye off the ball there.
                >
                > Simon
                >
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "look384" <kevin.barton@t...>
                > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 6:54 PM
                > Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Crash Adds Urgency, Emotion to Debate
                Over
                > Elderly Drivers
                >
                >
                > > Although denying citizens who cannot operate a motor vehicle
                safely
                > > (elderly, handicapped, etc) the privelege to drive is important,
                it
                > > does little to address the fundamental problem, which is in the US
                > > you must drive if you want to fully participate in life.
              • look384
                ... Finding and convincing enough people with the authority to change car- centric development is probably our most significant obstacle to a better future.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 19, 2003
                  --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@a...>
                  wrote:
                  > Are most governments and industries creating a world
                  > of handicapped people?
                  > I guess so :-( Unless some open minded people do
                  > something to override this car-centric development
                  > by a human-scaled city design¸

                  Finding and convincing enough people with the authority to change car-
                  centric development is probably our most significant obstacle to a
                  better future. For me personally, I'm nearing retirement from the
                  Air Force and beginning to plan for a second career. I'm focusing on
                  city and regional planning. I concede I have no training or
                  expertise to qualify for such a career, but I do have one
                  qualification most planners don't have, personal experience with
                  development schemes that are much closer to human scale than anywhere
                  I've been in the US. One interesting observation I have from years
                  of living in Japan and Europe is that long ago I knew there was
                  something about these places I truly appreciated, but it wasn't until
                  I started reading books such as Carfree Cities and others related to
                  carfree development that it was the human scale I appreciated so
                  much. That's the kind of awakening city, state and to some degree
                  federal leaders need. So, even if my plans for a second career in
                  planning don't bare fruit, I will spend time stalking and harassing
                  those with this responsibility until they realize what's needed to
                  turn our cities around. And, that's simply human-scaled, mixed use
                  development.

                  From a civic responsibility perspective, we are the open minded
                  people who must do something to change car-centric development. We
                  can either attempt to get into the leadership positions that direct
                  the development, or we can attempt to influence those with that
                  responsibility. Attempting to influence these leaders means we must
                  contact the planning office, the mayor, our representatives in city
                  and state govt, etc, and do our best to educate them. Make them
                  realize their development schemes are the core of many of our
                  problems, including budget woes, crime, traffic deaths, and
                  freedom/independence of many of our citizens. If we fail, the
                  greatest penalty for trying will be a little ridicule and
                  humiliation, the greatest penalty for not trying will be the status-
                  quo. However, if we suceed the reward could be greater than even
                  most of us expect.

                  One other path I've been mulling over is finding and supporting "open
                  minded people" for our elected offices. From what I've read,
                  Portland, OR has made some of the best progress in the country, and
                  to my understanding this progress has by in large come from the
                  mayor's leadership. Finding mayor's like those in Portland for every
                  city could make for major progress.

                  Kevin
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