Is This The Dumbest Member of Massachusetts Government?


The competition's tough, I know.  But Rachel Kaprielian is certainly in the running.

In Rachel's world down at the RMV (Reaming Motorists Vigorously), a radio talk show host with a paperwork error belongs in jail, while a 93-year-old who hasn't been road tested since the Woodrow Wilson administration belongs on our highways.

How clueless is Kaprielian?  When Louis Vesprini plowed into a Danvers Wal-Mart and almost crushed a child to death, this was her response in the Boston Globe-Democrat:

Kaprielian said the driver had applied for a handicapped placard in 2005 and supplied a note from his doctor that said that he was medically fit to drive, even though he also needed access to handicapped parking spots.

"He was fit to drive, but needed a little assistance," she said of Vesprini's 2005 application, which was granted.

Kaprielian said that despite the horrific nature of yesterday's crash, RMV statistics show that elderly drivers are not a primary cause of car crashes in the state.

"There is a sentiment that elderly drivers are more dangerous drivers, and the data does not support that," she said in a telephone interview. "We have a lot more crash data and frequency of accidents among young people." [emphasis added]

The guy drove into the Juniors Department of Wal-Mart, and Kaprielian is STILL defending him!  If Kaprielian were the head of the Department of Hack-Friendly Holidays or the Registry Of DiMasi Contributors, her ignorance about elderly-driving data would merely be embarrassing. But as the head of the office that hands out licenses to 93-year-olds, it's dangerous.

You know what Rachel thinks.  Here's the Natural Truth:

    • Compared with middle-aged drivers (age 35 to 54), drivers 75 or older have far higher death rates per mile traveled. (So do drivers under 20.) Death rates jump markedly after age 80.
    • Older drivers have higher rates of fatal crashes, based on miles driven, than any other group except young drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
    • Those aged 75 or older have a fatal accident rate higher than the next-highest category, drivers aged 16-24. Those two groups both suffer considerably more than double the fatal accident rate of any other age group.
    • Older drivers experience a particularly higher accident rate in intersections. More than half of all fatal accidents involving drivers over age 85 occur in intersections. While 37% of all fatal accidents involving drivers over age 65 occur at intersections, for drivers aged 26 to 64 the comparable figure is only 18%.
    • Fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65, according to a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, based on data from 1999-2004. From ages 75 to 84, the rate of about three deaths per 100 million miles driven is equal to the death rate of teenage drivers. For drivers 85 and older, the fatality rate skyrockets to nearly four times higher than that for teens.

Finding the sources for these facts is as easy as clicking here here or here.  Unfortunately, it's too hard for the head of our RMV. And I'll say it one more time: When a geezer driver does plow into a playground and kill someone, that blood will be on the hands of "leaders" like Rachel Kaprielian and the legislators who refuse to support common-sense measures like mandatory road tests for drivers 80 and older.


Michael Graham
Radio talk show host, columnist for the Boston Herald, stand-up comic and former GOP political consultant. Learn more about Michael here.

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