THE Washington Post and other media in the Washington region frequently report auto accidents involving elderly drivers.
There was another one Tuesday in which three people standing near a bus stop were hurt - one seriously - when a 79-year-old woman lost control of her car, which jumped a curb in Northeast Washington.
Such sad stories remind me that I have two milestones approaching: I'm about to turn 78, and my driver's license is about to expire.
Not to worry: Maryland's Motor Vehicles Administration has already sent me the necessary forms for renewing my license by mail. All I need is a note from my friendly ophthalmologist saying that my eyesight is OK, and I'll get a license good for eight years.
Think about that. Eight years.
I don't have to show up at an MVA office. I don't have to undergo a physical or mental exam, much less a driving test. And I'll be good to go until age 86.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, nearly half of people older than 85 have Alzheimer's disease. I finish The Post's Sunday crossword each week (OK, my wife helps), so I suppose I'm not seriously cognitively impaired yet.
But what about eight years from now? My ophthalmologist says that my eyesight is good now, but I'll likely need cataract surgery in less than eight years.
I play tennis several times a week, and my reaction time seems fine to me, but it is surely slowing. Just ask my partners.
I certainly hope I'll still be fit to drive eight years from now. But the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration doesn't even know if I'm fit now. It clearly can't know whether I will be in 2021.