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Published August 04, 2010, 05:39 PM

Seniors Talk About Driving And Age

An Oberon North Dakota woman's driving offenses are bringing some attention to senior drivers.

By: Brady Mallory, WDAZ

An Oberon North Dakota woman's driving offenses are bringing some attention to senior drivers. But some senior citizens say too much attention is being paid to 92-year-old Faith Mitzel's age rather than her driving skills.

"It's a very sad situation," said 84-year-old Evelyn Hass.

One involving Mitzel, the woman cited for crossing the center line in a deadly accident May 19th killing a woman. Mitzel was then cited again Tuesday, for driving while her license is suspended. Hass thinks Mitzel's offense is serious, but it can happen to a driver of any age if they aren't paying attention.

" I think they are paying much more attention to the age of the driver rather than the fact she has trouble driving," said Hass.

" Everyone needs to monitor their driving abilities. I don't think it's always age. It has been implied quite a bit," said 80-year-old Ellen Simon, while at the Grand Forks Senior Center.

Simon thinks important to keep any skill up-to-date, especially driving. Like playing the piano, it's always good to keep practicing.

"It reminds them of the skills they should be using," said Gordon York.

York is a driving instructor for the AARP..helping seniors with their driving.

" The reaction time, hearing, vision, so on and so forth affect their driving. The number of accidents with older people and injuries is increasing rapidly."

It also has to do with not being aware of the road. Simon thinks it is up to everyone at any age, to brush up on stopping, turning and signaling.

" It just reinforces what you know. And you can always pick up something new."

The AARP classes use workbooks from the highway department, as well videos and quizzes.

"They like driving. The freedom, the convenience. It becomes a way of life," said York. Hass agreed.

"It's a very hard thing to give up. I have friends and relatives who have had to give up driving."

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