Driving Safely at Any Age

More and more elderly drivers are on the road than ever before. In 30 states and the District of Columbia, there are laws regarding old-age driving requirements. These laws state that elderly drivers must pass vision tests, renew their licenses more often than young drivers. This topic has especially garnered attention since a 100-year-old driver backed into a group of school children in Los Angeles in September. With the baby boomers aging, the federal government is considering requiring all states begin to take steps to address the real and growing problems surrounding elderly drivers.

Senior driving is a more complicated issue than the Los Angeles situation would imply. Older drivers don’t crash as often as younger drivers and they drive less. But, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the crash rates for elderly drivers begin to climb in the 70s age bracket with a sharper jump with the 80s age bracket. More often than not, elderly drivers are the victims in these crashes because they’re too frail to survive their injuries.

In North Carolina, drivers 66 years and older must renew their licenses every 5 years but there are no other provisions aimed at seniors. Specialists are recommending that more seniors need to plan ahead like Jerry and Sandy Wiseman of Illinois. Jerry Wiseman noticed that it was harder for him to check his blind spots while driving at age 69 than it was when he was 50. He and his wife took a refresher driving course, looking for tips to stay safe behind the wheel for years to come.

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