The issue of Singapore’s ageing population has plagued our country over nearly a decade. Figures obtained from the Traffic Police accentuate this fact with the statistic that the number of driving licence holders older than 65 has nearly doubled to 234,371 at the end of September 2013. If the trend continues, it could hit 500,000 by 2020. A large proportion of this seemingly worrying trend can be attributed to the fact that the government in 2012 raised the age limit for taxi drivers to 75 from 73.
An article obtained from the Straits Times forum raises the concern that although older drivers have the experience and the maturity to deal with unpleasant incidents on the road, they may have “slower responses and varying degrees of alertness, hearing and visual acuity”.
As such, the suggestion of creating an optional silver triangular plate policy for drivers aged 65 and above was raised. This measure would be similar to the probation-plate for drivers holding their license for under two years, whereby motorists are obliged to be more courteous to such drivers.
Whilst this potential move may seem like a considerate gesture by the government to increase cautiousness and civilness on the roads, it is highly unlikely that the measure will be implemented given the negative perceptions associated with existing probation plates. Surveys have found that cars which brandish probation plates are more susceptible to road bullying due to inconsiderate drivers who take advantage of their lack of experience.
Being labelled as a senior citizen on the roads may also cause ride-hailing passengers to become more selective of their taxi drivers, as they are more inclined to flag down younger drivers who are able to navigate the roads quicker. We believe that the measure proposed will lead to discrimination against senior drivers and give rise to even more complications.
What do our readers think? Do you think that it is a necessary and effective measure to create a ‘silver plate’ policy in Singapore given our ageing population? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!