KUCHING, Sept 25 — The Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatrics Society (SGGS) today expressed concern over a proposal by the federal police for senior citizens to undergo a medical check-up and be certified as medically fit before they can renew their motor vehicle licences.
Its president Dennis Tan said such a proposal is unfair to them as there are no statistics to show that senior citizens, perceived to be having health conditions, are among the main contributors to road accidents.
“Most road accidents are caused by young people driving recklessly, overtaking along narrow roads, speeding or beating traffic lights or even when they are in a drunken state,” Tan said when commenting on a statement by Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Datuk Azisman Alias yesterday.
He said asking senior citizens to undergo medical check-up and get the doctor’s confirmation of their health status before they can be issued with the licences was excessive when they are not the main causes of road accidents.
“There is an element of unfairness here against senior citizens,” Tan said, saying that a senior citizen suffering from health issues, such as blurred vision, is not a reason to stop them from renewing the licences.
He said senior citizens, like anyone younger than them, can put on a pair of glasses if they have sight problems.
Tan said if such conditions are to be imposed on senior citizens, then it should also apply equally to younger people as there are many of them having similar health issues.
“It is my belief that most road accidents in the country are caused by younger people, not the senior citizens,” he said.
He also said there is no need to impose such a blanket condition as senior citizens know when they cannot drive anymore, like when they are having health conditions such as Alzheimer’s or other serious illnesses.
Tan stressed that many senior citizens, even at the age of 70 years and above, are still healthy and actively contribute to society in their own ways.
He said the police should go after substance abusers and repeated traffic offenders as they are more likely to cause road accidents than senior citizens.
In a statement yesterday, Azisman said the police have proposed to the government to limit the issuance of Motor Vehicle Licences to senior citizens.
He said this was because the health condition of senior citizens could be a factor that contributed to road accidents.
He said senior citizens also may need to undergo a medical check-up and get doctor’s approval confirming that they are fit to drive.
Azisman said it would not be suitable for a senior citizen, aged 70 years, to renew the driving licence for a five-year period due to the age factor.
He also said motorcycle accidents were still the major contributor to traffic fatalities in the country at 70 per cent or 2,075 deaths from January to August this year.
This was followed by accidents involving cars at 450 deaths, pedestrians (168), lorries (87), bicycles (54), four-wheel drive vehicles (53) and buses (1).
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