America’s median age is on the rise as the older population increases and a majority of law enforcement executives may not realize the magnitude of this issue as a law enforcement problem. Its latent nature prevents it from taking its place among the topics law enforcement leaders confront each day, when in fact the aging population presents law enforcement with the rapidly expanding, complex issue of the “older driver.”
The so-called “baby boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964) are primarily in their forties and fifties. As a group they are safe drivers and practice good driving habits. They are courteous, law-abiding drivers who take fewer risks and are less disposed to “aggressive driving” than their younger counterparts. In other words, they seldom call police attention to themselves by their driving. The first of their generation will not begin to exhibit the signs of aging that affects their driving skills for a few years. To the unobservant or the preoccupied, the aging process might be easy to overlook.
Our population is “graying.” While it’s a social topic with broad implications for society, it is also an important issue that today’s law enforcement managers and tomorrow’s line officers must prepare for.