A great example of good intentions leading to unintended consequences

I am a firm believer in the law of unintended consequences (especially. of course, when we act out of what we think is kindness or good will).

So I was not at all surprised by the conclusion of a recent report about raising the restrictions on driving for older people (I, of course, have a real dog in this race because I’m getting to the age when some young smirking adjuster is gonna shake his head and ask, “Well, grandpa, do you really still need your license?”, at which point I may challenge him to a road race even though I know that would be a terrible tactic – an unintended consequence would likely result).

Anyway, here’s the conclusion from a Japanese study recently published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention: Older drivers who lose their licenses are much more likely to be involved in other traffic accidents.


Because when older Japanese drivers lost their licenses over the last few years because of much more stringent testing in oldsters, they often ended up resorting to bicycling (this is in Japan, of course, not likely to be the same here) or walking (that is more likely here) to get around, and as a consequence, these researchers detected significant increases in traffic deaths and injuries among unprotected road users aged 75 and up compared to a period when restrictions on older drivers were not as stringent.

Always, before acting, it’s best to remember the wise way the Chinese tend to put it: Beware what you wish for because you might just get it” (not really sure that’s the way it would be put in Chinese, but you get the drift).