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Driving more than a million miles offers no help to keep license

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I always wondered what I would do if I ever lost my driving license after driving for 73 years.

I learned rather quickly earlier this year when I was notified by the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles that I had two accidents within one year, and I was considered a bad risk for driving. The insurance company on my car thought the same thing and was canceling my policy.

I was scheduled by my family to take a test of my legs and feet, and they came out negative with almost no feeling. Another person there said firmly that I was a bad risk and should not drive a car. I was shocked because the first examiner poking my legs and feet with a needle felt like normal, but he said I had no feeling in them.

But who am I to take issue with the professionals?

Actually losing my license was something I never thought would happen because I always tried to be so careful — not only for myself, but for my cars, too.

In 1953 Oliver T. Justice, my stepfather who came to live with my mother in Wake Forest, lost most of the feeling in one of his legs. After someone saw he had to use one arm to help him put on the brakes, he lost his driver’s license when he was in his 80’s.

It was hard on them because my mother never drove.

I know the driving loss was the best thing that could happen to prevent a terrible accident, but it did seem that a limited license could have been issued to help them with errands.

Oliver’s driving was a great privilege, and when he lost it, they had to rely on neighbors or his family members to help them, but I guess this is the way the ball bounces.

Let me tell you, after driving for 73 years, it is like living in hell when you have that privilege to drive and to come and go most anywhere you please taken away from you.

Thinking back about the cars I have had, I am going to estimate the number of miles I put on each: My first car, a ’42 Ford I put 15,000 miles on it; ’49 Ford convertible, 50,000 miles; ’56 Ford hardtop, 50,000; ’62 Ford hardtop, 55,000; ’66 Ford, 60,000, ’65 Chevy cab over engine, 70,000 miles.

More cars: ’72 Chevy van, 75,000; ’78 Chevy Caprice, 80,000; ’76 Chevy Cab over engine, 85,000 miles.

And even more: ’82 Model 528e BMW, 60,000 miles; ’85 Chrysler Town & Country 106,000; and my last car: an ’06 Lincoln Zephyr, 62,000 miles. My first set of motorized wheels was a ’46 Cushman motor scooter, 10,000 miles.

Totaling up the mileage equals 778,000 total miles until I had the two accidents. The statistics are hard to understand, but we all lose something when we get older.

Thankfully, I have two sons who live close to me, Jimmy and Todd. Jimmy lives just three doors away and Todd lives in town.

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 919-556-3059 or