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Enough with the senior put-downs

In what seems like unending refrains for ridding the road of retirees, a letter writer who has "had enough with senior drivers" and drivers who are "retired and in no hurry" sings a song, if you will, that we've heard before: The elderly need not be on the road from 7 to 9 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m.

Oh, great. If it isn't mandatory tests, medication checks or family snitching about our driving to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it's another attempt to keep us off the road during high traffic time. Makes me think about selling my car.

The writer talks about seniors, retired, elderly. Who is a senior? When do you become "elderly?" I have no idea. I have friends who were old at 40 and some who are young at 70. Defining a "retiree" is easy. Guess what? Not only are there younger folks who no longer work, there are many retirees who still do. I'm 72, retired and teach as a part-time substitute. And, by the way, I'm often on the road between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and can't drive too slowly or I'll be late for school. Perish the thought.

I do share the writer's anger with slow drivers. But all seniors are not slow drivers any more than all other drivers are careful.

"Just think of all the accidents that could be avoided," he writes, "if retired people were not on the road at these times." That's not fair. Statistics show teens cause most fatal accidents. Can you imagine asking them to get them off the road? Their response would sound something like, "No way, dude."

Maybe, to paraphrase a famous TV commercial, we're falling and we can't get up because someone always seems to be putting us down.

Jack Bray, Dunedin

Speed kills, not seniors

Re: Older drivers should avoid rush hour, letter.

The letter writer seems to have a problem with seniors on the road, but at 47 years old he hasn't that far to go until he is one himself.

I have been a resident of Pinellas County since 1968. There are many people that shouldn't be on the road at any time. Drunks, hot-rod teenagers, speeders, lane changers, workers who leave the house too late so they need to speed to get to the job on time. It is speed that kills, not seniors.

There are many ways to solve traffic problems in Pinellas. Stagger the work hours. U.S. 19 is flat and straight _ run a tram right down the middle of the highway, and do the same for Fourth Street. I would suggest to the letter writer do what many seniors did: Get a lunch box and you stay off the road between noon and 1 p.m.

Seniors have just as much right to be on the road as the letter writer does. I would think talking on a cell phone while driving should be at the top of my list of unsafe practices. Keep them off the road at all hours. Anyone who is on the roads at any time, who doesn't have to be, isn't too smart. My letter only scratches the surface of the many ways to reduce traffic problems in Pinellas.

Dan Murphy, Clearwater

Roads belong to all of us

Re: Older drivers should avoid rush hour, letter.

I am furious over the letter instructing us seniors to stay out of rush-hour traffic so the letter writer can get to work quickly, eat lunch quickly and of course, get home quickly.

I am a senior who is an excellent driver: I have driven for nearly 60 years with no accidents _ not even a traffic ticket. I don't drive from 7 to 9 a.m. as I like to sleep late. However, there are times when I need to get to the doctor or dentist around noon, and the early-bird dinner specials are all over by 6 p.m.

May I suggest that the letter writer leave a little earlier in the morning, consider brown-bagging his lunch and work later to avoid the evening rush hour? Frankly, the roads belong to all of us, and I probably pay more in Florida intangibles tax each year than he does in federal taxes.

We're here to stay and you can like it or lump it.

Sam Lasley, Clearwater

Seniors, have some consideration

As soon as I read the letter in the Neighborhood Times suggesting that senior citizens refrain from driving during certain times, I immediately knew what the response from older drivers would be: outrage. To all you older drivers offended by this, look: This is not about your right to the highways. It is about a little consideration.

Before my mother retired she had a quick hour between noon and 1 p.m. to go to the bank, the dry cleaners, the supermarket, run other errands, and eat her lunch. Now that she has retired she voluntarily refrains from going to any of those places during the lunch hour as she realizes that other people, working people, have a limited amount of time during the day whereas she has a much more flexible schedule.

I know that the words "seniors" and "flexibility" do not coexist in the real world, but seniors, please try to think of someone other than yourselves for a change.

Dale Bottum, St. Petersburg

Teen's wisdom was refreshing

Re: Time management will prevent road rage, letter, Jan. 18.

I wish there were more teens with the wisdom of the letter writer. He credited his grandfather for his driving lessons and outlook. He is wise beyond his years and has an insight into seniors that most adults don't reach. It's refreshing to see one so young with such respect for the driving privilege.

Patricia Martin, St. Petersburg

Should hospitals merge?

Re: All Children's Hospital expansion.

I am sure the new facility is a needed addition to our community. The cooperation with Bayfront Medical is also laudable; however, with the integration of services and facilities I wonder why two separate administrations are necessary. Is it time for a merger of these two institutions, and if not, why not?

A.J. Audet, St. Petersburg

Hospital, resort respond in emergency

I was at the Don CeSar on vacation when my daughter had to be rushed to the emergency room at All Children's Hospital for emergency surgery.

I cannot tell you how incredible my experience was from start to finish, from the wonderful people at the Don CeSar who took care of me, to the nurses and doctors at All Children's who took care of my daughter's every need. People I didn't even know at the Don CeSar called the hospital and came to visit us to make sure we had everything we needed. The hospitality staff made sure I had toothpaste, deodorant, etc., and their prayers for my daughter _ I can never thank them enough. The hospital staff _ from Dr. Hebra who performed the surgery, to Dr. Pell who diagnosed her, to all of the nurses who took care of us better than I have ever seen in a hospital _ saved my daughter's life.

I thank God every day that my story had a happy ending, and I want to thank the hospital and the resort for making it so.

Joanne Ruscella, Orlando