Saturday, 28 April 2012

#234: GrannyMobile?

I know older people who have given up their cars with great reluctance simply because the challenges of Driving While Elderly were insurmountable.  It is a sad day when a bus pass is your ticket to freedom after a lifetime of driving.

But in Great Britain where the percentage of older drivers is higher than in North America, scientists are hoping to keep older drivers on the road longer, confident and safe, with an “emotionally intelligent” electric car designed especially for the over-sixty-five crowd.

Their intuitive car, a modified Peugeot iOn, will make up for drivers’ declining skills with some amazing abilities of its own. This vehicle, which gives new definition to the phrase “smart car”, can monitor heart rate and cardiovascular health, driver's concentration, stress levels and driving habits. (I wonder how the car responds to a dangerous reading.  Does it call 911 for you?)  Further modifications will allow the vehicle to perceive nearby obstructions so that the driver can avoid a collison, or park more easily.

This sounds to me like the sort of car we should make available to all comers. No need to prove you are pensioner in order to drive safe.  How about an iOn for everyone who is guilty of Driving While Distracted/Tired/Hurried or just plain Stupid? 


  1. Interesting..You do have to consider the safety of the other people on the road. My mother drove up to 2 months before she died at 90. She would have only driven in about a 10 kilometre radius- my place and local shops. I did worry about her and in the last months of her life told her not too drive. An uncle was still driving until just before he died even though he had brain tumors which may have resulted in fitting at any time. His doctor told him to be careful!! Then there is the classic joke about the old bloke who talks about his long list of medical conditions ending with alzeimers and then says ''at least I still have my licence''. I have read about people with alzeimers who are still driving and their spouse tells them where to go etc.
    Overall I think that the safety of others on the road must take precedence, although, I know what a blow it must be to lose your licence.
    BTW I loved all your posts from NZ. They were really good.

    1. I don't disagree. I would hope that families of older drivers (and older drivers themselves) would prevent dangerous driving by doing whatever seems appropriate, and that might involve doing more than advising care!

      A friend did just tell me that her father-in-law had a stroke while driving. Fortunately, his wife was able to take control of the car, but an iOn would have recognized the problem immediately.

      Personally, I would be happy to have a car that parked itself. But then, I would have been happy to have one when I was 25.

      I'm glad you liked the NZ posts. That really was a terrific holiday. I would do it again in a flash though I'm not sure our friends would want us back quite so soon.