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Gov. Jerry Brown: ‘There’s A Lot Of Old People Who Shouldn’t Be Driving’

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some senior citizens have a beef with Gov. Jerry Brown after an off-the-cuff joke saying some older people shouldn’t be driving.

Brown made the remarks while pushing the benefits of the California High-Speed Rail project.

He’s said many things at many dinners on many topics, but what CBS13’s cameras caught him saying at a labor union dinner in Sacramento earlier this week has some older voter saying, “Oh no he didn’t.”

He made a comment jokingly about why high-speed rail would be good for California. In a nutshell, he said it would get older drivers off the road.

“There’s a lot of old people who shouldn’t be driving,” he said. “They should be sitting in a nice train car working on their iPad having a martini.”

As you can hear in the video, the remarks drew laughter, but not everyone is chuckling.

“I don’t think it was funny,” said Gayle Petrali.

That was her reaction until we told her what the governor’s office said in response to his quip: “Judging by the crowd reaction, it was taken as intended.”

So yeah, he tried to make a funny. In that case.

“If he was just saying it in fun, it’s OK,” she said.

Even joking though, some seniors were still stung.

“Well I’m all for light-rail, but I don’t think senior citizens are the hazards on the road,” one senior said.

The stats back her up. Consumer reports did a study and found drivers 80 and older are involved in five times as many fatal crashes per mile as middle-aged drivers. But the crash rate for teens is nearly nine times as high.

So as Gail drives off, and other seniors go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew their license, they want to know if Brown may choose his words more carefully.

The irony in all of this is not lost. Brown, who turns 76 next month, would be one of those older drivers he talked about, if he drove. He is chauffeured by a California Highway Patrol officer.

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