Atlanta neurologist calls for testing for elderly, at-risk drive - CBS46 News

Atlanta neurologist calls for testing for elderly, at-risk drivers

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MARIETTA, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -

One day after Jonesboro Police said an 86-year-old man accidentally drove into a building and hit a 2-year-old girl because he mixed up his brake and gas pedals, an Atlanta neurologist has come forward with a plea.

Dr. Robert Bashuk, a Marietta neurologist, said he believes the state should make people over the age of 70 get tested regularly, to make sure they are able to drive safely.

Bashuk said that what happened to that 86-year-old commonly happens to people with memory issues.

"They kind of forget exactly where they are, where their feet are and they hit the wrong thing," Bashuk said.

But, he said, testing isn't just an age issue. He is one of about a dozen doctors in Metro Atlanta, who have a product by a company called DriveABLE. It's called the DriveABLE Cognitive Assessment Tool, or DCAT, and is made up of several short tasks that drivers complete, which test their memory, special and timing judgment, peripheral vision and more. Bashuk said he uses it for people of all ages.

"Age is not the issue, the issue is are they a medically at-risk driver," Bashuk said. "It could be somebody young, who has had a traumatic brain injury, who wants to return to driving."

Bashuk said the problem with elderly drivers especially is going to get worse as baby boomers continue to age.

"This is going to be a big issue for the next 25 years," Bashuk said.

Many older drivers, and drivers with medical issues that put them at risk for driving, depend on being able to drive themselves to live independent lives. But Bashuk said he believes it's more important to make sure the roads are safe by testing those at-risk drivers.

"Because driving is a privilege not a right, at a certain age, I think everyone should be tested every couple of years to make sure they are safe to drive," Bashuk said.

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