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Driving with macular degeneration

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:42 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:42 a.m. CDT

From Franklin Kinkade


A local senior citizen met with Mark E Wilkinson, OD, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He was told that he should not be driving. There are 15 million people in the United States with macular degeneration. People are living longer, up into the eighties and nineties, and don't realize how much their vision has deteriorated. A bipartisan bill needs to be introduced in the House and Senate to create much safer rules and regulations and goals.

All streets signs must be white with black block letters, preferably two inches bigger each way. All license plates should be white with black block letters. All speed limit signs should be white with black block letters two inches bigger each way. All U turns and restricted U turns should be identified by signs two inches larger each way.

Require all cars being produced have a white dash with black letters. All vehicles should have a light on the dash to indicate the emergency brake has been applied. This should be automatic when the vehicle is turned on. If the car is placed in gear, an automatic chirping sign (separate from the backup) should indicate the need to release the emergency brake.

Vehicles should also be required to have automatic running lights that come on as soon as a car is put in forward gear and made to run with lights made with low beam during daylight hours. People with macular degeneration see a vehicle in the distance, then it disappears and reappears. That is why it needs to run with it's lights on.

All vehicles should be equipped with backup beeps to warn traffic of their entering a traffic line where visibility is restricted. Cameras showing rear conditions and obstructions are much to be desired.

Everyone needs to remember to wear their seat belts, not only for your safety, but also for the safety of others.

Motorcycles should be required to run with head lights on at all times for their own safety. A person with macular degeneration is not able to see a motorcycle in the shadow of a semi truck. All motorcycles, scooters and bicycles should have headlights so they are visible.

All cash registers should be equipped with black letters on white background. All computers and cell phones should be made equipped with black letters on a white background.

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