Anna Ford, retired newsreader, lecturer, academic, feminist and social anthropologist was criticised by ex Big Brother celebrity and chat show host, Vanessa Feltz in the following article recently about the elderly and road safety:-
An excerpt from the Daily Express, Tuesday December 16,2008
By Vanessa Feltz.
“VETERAN newsreader Anna Ford, a sprightly, sophisticated and soignée 65-year-old, has come up with an idea: “I’d introduce regular driving tests after the age of 70.”
Ms Ford adds: “I would be tougher on people who drive dangerously in any way. Just ban them. Cars are lethal machines.”
Apart from being appalled at the prospect of herding hale and hearty 70-year-olds in for enforced testing, I’m not sure on which roads Anna Ford is driving. Surely they can’t be the same ones you and I circumnavigate?
On Ms Ford’s roads, vintage drivers are a veritable scourge, roaring off at traffic lights, whizzing over the speed limit and zooming, unbidden, out of side streets.
On Anna’s avenues grey-haired road-ragers rant as 70-plus joyriders execute life-threatening, show-off manoeuvres. On the roads you and I travel, the elderly are, for the most part, invisible, blending with the vast mass of unremarkable traffic.
Older drivers are not beset by that dangerous, sometimes tragic urgency which infects our youth.
Some OAP drivers are undeniably a mild irritant. They tend to hog the middle of the road and take rather a long time to make decisions about whether to park or turn right. They may gently afflict your nerves. They may play petty havoc with your personal patience button. What they are most emphatically not is dangerous.
Older drivers are experienced drivers. They’ve had decades to learn how to read the road. They know how to recognise trouble spots long before the trouble arises. What’s more, they are not beset by that dangerous, sometimes tragic urgency which infects our youth”
What planet is Vanessa Feltz on? Oh no, they can’t be dangerous.. no, not the ones that speed, ones that go up the wrong way on the motorway or crash several times at 102 years old (like my aunt was) and still be allowed to drive at that age. I am so sick of older drivers driving badly and I agree with Anna, that they should have a test, after all, ‘if they know it all’, it should be a problem then?!
However, I think we should have More tests, maybe at 40 too. Everyone gets into bad habits and laws change. People need to be kept up-to-date.
I think Vanessa should research facts more and even have a quick look at some Youtube clips or visit some hospitals where older people over 65 have gone into someone.
Here is a bit of background of Anna Ford (from Wikipedia):-
“Ford’s parents were both West End actors, with her father having declined an offer from Samuel Goldwyn to work in Hollywood. He later decided to become a priest, becoming the Rev. John Ford, and took Anna and her four brothers to live at Eskdale in the Lake District. She went to primary school at St. Ursula’s School, Wigton, then to Wigton Grammar School on High Street. Her father became the parish priest at St Martin’s church in Brampton, so she went to the White House Grammar School on Main Street, becoming head girl.
Ford received a BA Hons degree in Social Anthropology from the Victoria University of Manchester and was president of the students’ union in 1966, and was apparently nicknamed “Red Anna” at this time. She also received a Postgraduate Diploma in adult education whilst at Manchester.
She was a lecturer in Christie’s Fine Art department in Ballyclare, then an Open University social studies tutor in Belfast for two years from 1972. Anna Ford was thirty by the time she joined Granada Television as a researcher in 1974, being told she was too old to be a newsreader (similar to Selina Scott recently who received compensation). She joined the BBC in 1976, and worked on Tomorrow’s World in 1977″
and just for balance, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on Vanessa Feltz’s career:-
“After graduating from Cambridge with a First Class Honours Degree, she moved from temping work to writing for The Jewish Chronicle, then the Daily Mirror. She often specialised in sex advice, even writing for top shelf magazine Men Only, and her sex tips for girls book called “What Are These Strawberries Doing on My Nipples? I Need Them For The Fruit Salad!”. She also presented a Jewish radio show on BBC GLR (now BBC London 94.9).
She replaced Paula Yates on Channel 4 morning TV show The Big Breakfast presenting a regular item where she interviewed celebrities while in a bed. She also presented a show called Value for Money similar to the BBC’s Watchdog.
and then of course, there is this video:-
Her career peaked when she presented the ITV daytime television chat show Vanessa made by independent TV company, Anglia Television. She moved to the BBC to host a similar show, The Vanessa Show, in 1998 in a reported £2 million deal, when demands for a doubling of her wages to £2.75m million fell on deaf ears. ITV replaced her show with Trisha.
In 1999, her BBC television show was cancelled when it was revealed that some guests were actors from an agency. BBC One controller Peter Salmon said the bad publicity had effectively killed the show”
and then of course, there is this video:-
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tdNLCvoKT0g by a girl who lost her father due to an 88 year old driver recently or you can check it on on here:-