You know what gets my goat? Old people driving

Tyler Lage

I am not here to beat a dead horse. Most of us have lamented about being stuck behind an older person performing some ridiculous driving maneuver — typically driving half the legal speed limit with their blinker on while swerving gently between the lanes.

I also am not here to severely punish the whole for the actions of the few. I really have no idea what percentage of octogenarians and above are abominable autoists, but I do know that every driver deserves a fair shake as to whether or not they are capable. It is out of this sentiment that I propose a radical new approach to the problem of sporadic geriatric operators.

“Operating over the age” should be treated similar to “operating under the influence.” In particular, I propose a codified set of tests to be conducted once the driver in question has been pulled over. We would not even need to change some of the tests.

Finger-to-nose test

With drunks, this is merely a test of hand-eye coordination. In the upper echelon of age demographics, it can also serve as a test for range of motion.

Walking the line

Again, this test would be beneficial for the over-the-age in the same way as the under-the-influence and then some. It is still a test of balance, vision and corrective motor control. For the aged driver, however, a physical endurance test should be added — say walk 100 feet in less than a minute.

Why, you might ask? Because driving can be physically taxing, and if you are unable to walk away from a smoldering accident at a decent clip, you probably should not be allowed to cause it.

Reciting the alphabet backward

This one is just as valid here as in the case of the drunk, and for the same reason. Both legally offensive states — age and drunkenness — detrimentally affect your ability to systematically cogitate. If a well-seasoned individual cannot outperform a whippersnapper on too much schnapps, neither should be able to drive.

I recommend one additional test to assess the reaction time of the aged autoist.

Catching the hard candy

Because it is a rule that once you pass 70 years old you are ethically bound to carry hard candy on your person at all times, it should be utilized.

The test is simple. The officer takes the piece of hard candy and holds it at head-height. The driver starts with hands on hips. The officer then drops the candy and the driver has to catch it, or at least get close — we cannot punish for lack of athletic ability, after all. It will be used to assess reaction time, as well as quick-acting motor skills. Additionally, the officer will probably be able to score a Werther’s Original out of the deal.

So, there it is. I have proposed a fully working plan. Now all we need to do is go arrest our grandmothers. I hope they didn’t bake cookies.