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Driving the message home

By Lucie Robson

Swiftly on the trail of the death of a 69-year-old woman hit by a car driven by a 90-year-old man last week, the Road Safety Council is tipped to draft a proposal calling for all drivers over the age of 75 to obtain a doctor’s certificate on an annual basis to certify that they continue to be fit to get behind the wheel of a car.

The accident happened on the Astromeritis -Nicosia motorway. The driver claimed that he hadn’t seen the woman step out onto the road but the Traffic Police said that headlights are “adequate for safe driving”.

I have been away from the island for a little bit and it is very welcome to return to Cyprus to learn that, in my absence, everybody has suddenly decided to abide by the rules and regulations of the road as is indicated by the Traffic Police’s optimism that such tests, if anybody bothered to have one at all, and if the police even cared to check elderly drivers, would be carried out in an above-board manner.

I take it that you can detect the sarcasm.

Does the Road Safety Unit seriously think that in a country where teens regularly sneak behind the wheel, nothing ever, ever, ever gets done about boy racers (they’ve had to set up a petition about this in Paphos), and where more than a few vehicles’ indicator lights don’t work (which is just as well since using them seems to be optional anyway) this draft proposal is going to make any difference?

Anyway, I thought such a regulation already existed.

This is because, some years back, one of my elderly acquaintances of the time told me how his doctor friend had given him necessary documentation to enable him to keep driving. ‘Given’ and ‘friend’ are the operative words here. My acquaintance didn’t have to do any medical tests whatsoever.

I cannot see any reason to believe that this type of practice has changed in the intervening years.
In any case, you don’t need to dig around for statistics, but rather,p just read the news or have attended a few funerals, to know that men under the age of 25 cause a significant number of road deaths each year or are victims themselves.

Statistics presented by the Transport Minister last year showed that out of 513 road fatalities recorded between 2007 and 2014, 114 victims were under 25, with 93 being men.

I think this data is what the Road Safety Council should base any action on.

Yes – the elderly should be tested as there may be a handful who cannot respond quickly to the demands of driving any longer. But by the same token, driving tests and being granted the privilege of a licence should be tougher for those groups that cause the lion’s share of accidents.

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