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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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  • smemmolo By smemmolo
    08.18.09  

    I don't think there is a specific age were a person should stop driving. It depends on a persons health.

  • Samson2000 By Samson2000
    08.19.09  

    It shouldn't be age that factors in as much as the physical limitations. If an elderly person is under a doctor's care, say for eye disease, lets put the responsibility on the doctor to notify the state of their limitations. I think all states should retest!

  • the7thh0rcrux By the7thh0rcrux
    08.21.09  

    I believe that there are great to horrendous drivers in any gender or age group. Some people 65 and older and healthier than people in their 20's or 30's. They need some sort of health test to distribute to any and all drivers regardless of age. We cannot just group people into stereotypes, we need to do our best to determine the abilities of each person and assess them individually, not just because of a number attached to them.

  • aftertwilight102 By aftertwilight102
    08.28.09  

    I myself have a grandmother who is no longer a truely safe driver, but no one else will back me up on finally taking away her keys. It is not an issue of just wether or not they can pass a vison test, I truely believe that at a certain point, a driving intructor should get in the car with them and test them while actually driving. My grandma vision is fine, that still doesn't stop her from periodically swerving into on coming traffic because she thinks it is the turn lane.

  • dahref By dahref
    08.28.09  

    Age is just a number. You can't determine if a person should drive or not because of their age. I know people in their 70's who I wouldn't ride with, people in their 80's I would ride with and people in their 30's no way I'm getting in a car with them behind the wheel.

  • mrobin77 By mrobin77
    09.02.09  

    There should not be a set age that people aren't allowed to drive because everyone is different. However, I do think that if a person starts having re-ocurring traffic violations or accidents that they should be reviewed or re-tested by the DMV.

  • Bell_Fein By Bell_Fein
    09.05.09  

    There should not be a set age. Testing should be done starting at a certain age and should be done, I believe, yearly. I do agree with rtennyso1. I guess it comes down to health rather than age. Such as eye health and mental health.

  • October By October
    09.09.09  

    I think that they need to up the age for teen drivers to 18 and then for senior driver they should test them yearly after the age of 65.

  • CHRISTINE24666 By CHRISTINE24666
    09.17.09  

    I think past 80 is too old to drive and anyone reaching 70-75 should get their driving skills checked periodically!

  • momagarry By momagarry
    09.29.09  

    If you can no longer see you should not be driving whether you are 16 or 99.

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