Decisions on older people’s fitness to drive an automobile are in many cases evaluative and normative. These challenging decisions need to be made at both policy and individual levels. With an ageing population, it is important that this decision-making about older drivers is appropriate and fair, but little work has examined the ethical values that should inform our approach to this issue. This essay concerns the ethical values and framework around older people and driving. I argue that decision-making about older drivers should include a consideration of older people’s mobility and the promotion of individual welfare. Drawing on empirical insights and ethical theory, this essay firstly argues that a traditional safety-focused perspective on older drivers is potentially deficient, misleading, and detrimental, and should be rethought. Secondly, it is shown that driving is both instrumentally and essentially linked to older people’s welfare. Decision-making should therefore include an ethical principle of beneficence. And thirdly, it is argued that a consideration of individual welfare in decisions about older drivers is vital to address important societal trends.
Asian Bioethics Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 23, 2017