A NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation by the name of Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch Theft (Marah) is trying to wade in on road safety by proposing that medical checks be made mandatory for drivers above the age of 65.
Its founder Dave Avran cited a recent incident of a vehicle being driven on the wrong lane of the New Pantai Expressway near Taman Dato Harun. The driver was a 76-year-old man suffering from dementia and hearing problems.
Marah should have seen this as an isolated incident and not be overzealous in suggesting that all drivers above 65 must be subject to compulsory medical checks every six months.
While it is true that many elderly drivers have health issues, any drastic measure to stop or make it inconvenient for them to continue driving would have serious consequences on our society and economy.
Forcing the elderly to stop driving means curtailing their mobility and quality of life. It can be devastating to those who provide transport for their family members, like grandchildren. In such cases, being unable to drive would make them feel useless.
If a strict medical examination is carried out on all commercial vehicle drivers regardless of age, our transport sector would be crippled if all those found unfit are barred from driving.
Until the number of rapes, assaults and snatch thefts in this country is brought under control, there is much work in these areas for Marah to focus on.
As for road safety, we have the Road Transport Department that is responsible for the renewal of Competent Driving Licences, Public Service Vehicle Licences and Goods Driving Licences. We also have a Road Safety Department, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research and other agencies to look into road safety matters.