Implement 'silver-plate' policy for older drivers

Much has been done to cater to our rapidly ageing population, but one issue is still on the back burner - the safety of seniors while driving.

According to the Traffic Police, the number of driving licence holders older than 65 doubled from 118,237 in 2006 to 234,371 at the end of September 2013. If the trend continues, it could hit 500,000 by 2020.

The escalation in the number of senior drivers would logically translate into more seniors getting involved in accidents. Rather than be jolted into action only after seeing such grim statistics, it is better to adopt a strong pre-emptive mindset.

Younger drivers have fast reflexes, but lack real-life experience to deal with unexpected road situations. This is the basis for the mandatory display of the orange triangular probation plate for new drivers.

Older drivers have experience and the maturity to deal with unpleasant incidents, but may have slower responses and varying degrees of alertness, hearing and visual acuity.

Hence, I suggest that the Traffic Police implement an optional silver triangular plate policy for drivers aged 65 and above.

Motorists are already accustomed to being a little more patient and tolerant of probation-plate drivers.

I am sure many motorists would do the same for silver-plate drivers.

This policy is low-cost and easy to understand and implement. It can improve safety, harmony and graciousness for everyone on the road.

Li Ze Zong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2016, with the headline 'Implement 'silver-plate' policy for older drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe