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How Old Is Too Old To Drive?

How Old Is Too Old To Drive?

One aspect of daily life that older people often find hard to give up is driving.  We all know it is time to turn in the car keys when vision begins to fail or any other health condition becomes a factor.  But some people hold onto the car keys a little too long if they don’t recognize their deteriorating health or in an effort to stay as independent as possible in their senior years.  With the “baby boomer” generation expected to increase the sheer quantity of senior drivers in the next couple of decades, states across the nation are seeking a way to change regulations to make sure everyone’s driving safely into their golden years.

A recent article from USA Today discussed which states were making changes to assure older drivers were well enough to continue driving.  According to Census projections, Americans aged 65 and older will jump from 39 million in 2010 to 69 million in 2030.  Peter Kissinger, president of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reported to USA Today that currently 15% of all drivers in the U.S. are 65 and older, but by 2025 approximately one quarter of all drivers will be over 65.  Kissinger went on to say, “I really don’t think our society is ready for that.  We are not ready with respect to the kinds of issues older drivers face.”

This is why some states have begun to try new methods of testing aging drivers to make sure they can navigate roads safely.  California, for example, has begun issuing limited licenses which allow older drivers, after passing a test, to only drive on specific routes that they travel regularly.  And Maryland passed a law allowing police, doctors, and residents to refer unsafe drivers to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s Medical Advisory Board to be evaluated.

States have already begun to reap the benefits of new testing for the elderly.  After a Florida law was passed in 2004 that required older drivers to pass a vision test before getting a license renewed, the death rate among drivers 80 and older has gone down by 17 percent.  Thomas Meuser, a gerontologist at the University of Missouri, believes new regulations should be put in place for older drivers, but does not want them to be stereotyped as lousy drivers.  Meuser said, “Most older drivers are safe drivers.  The challenge is older drivers with either subtle but progressive health issues that affect them without their knowledge.”

What do you think of testing elderly drivers more often before renewing a license?

Do you think all states need to adopt new methods of testing older drivers?

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  • jewelrymom3 By jewelrymom3
    07.08.09  

    I don't feel there should be a 'particular' age that is too old. I like the fact of having certain tests to determine whether a person is still able to drive or not. I mean there feelings should be considered and not just trampled on. Don't get me wrong, they should be able to see and hear well and also have good reflexes and judgement.

  • babyann By babyann
    07.08.09  

    I think there are bad and good drivers regardless of age. I think there should be certain test given to everyone, not just based on age.

  • mardel By mardel
    07.08.09  

    I believe that no matter how well of a driver you are there should be an age limit and mine would be at the age of 70! The driver needs to be evaluated and tested to make sure he/she still know what they are doing! It's my family out there and I need to know they are safe! Thanks

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    07.08.09  

    Age is just a number and I don't feel it's right to take someone's license away just because they turn a certain age. The deciding factor should be is the person still capable of operating a vehicle safely which can be determined by retaking the tests at certain intervals, like every 10 years or something. I think this should go for everyone, not just the elderly. There are way too many young drivers on the road with barely enough experience to pass the test, let alone drive at night, in the rain or snow, etc, but there are also still plenty of people in all age groups that should not have gotten a license in the first place and it boggles the mind how they havent killed someone already

  • Niecy38 By Niecy38
    07.08.09  

    mardel i so agree with you well said..

  • mitzi357 By mitzi357
    07.08.09  

    Capability is not determined by age alone, but by physical well being. If you are going to test, then Retest everyone - not just the elderly. The idea of a restricted area license is a good idea, I think... kind of like those who have a hardship license and can only drive to work and for groceries, doctor, church, etc.

  • msfriendly By msfriendly
    07.08.09  

    I've seen more young drivers that are worse than older drivers. I don't think any test would help.

  • kristina20022002 By kristina20022002
    07.08.09  

    I was waiting at the dmv one day to renew my plates on my car and I watched this elderly lady take her eye test (reading the chart), in the letter reading she did fine, but when there were flashing lights on the side of her she didn't notice them and the lady behind the counter told her, but gave her her licence anyway. That right there is a hazard. if you don't notice anything from the sides of your vehicle you should not drive, It would be just like putting blinders on.

  • ajannasmom By ajannasmom
    07.08.09  

    I think Florida has a good idea. I've been saying for years that I think older drivers, let's say at retirement age and over should be re-tested annually for a renewal. And not the let's go around the block test. It should be a true, on the road, and highway test. I don't know that restricting people to an area is a good idea. That seems a bit harsh. The way I see it is that if you can pass the REAL test, then you should be able to drive anywhere.

  • grekanda29 By grekanda29
    07.09.09  

    I feel that tests should be given to determine each individual's capabilities. As far as age being a determinable factor, the problem with that concept is that each person ages differently. For instance, one 70 yr. old may be able to think very coherently and see very well, another person of the same age might not. I believe in treating people as individuals and not grouping everyone together. Before we get too hasty in our judgments of who's 'too old' to drive, let's remember that one day WE will also be senior citizens.

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