Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Seniors at the Wheel: Should There Be An Age Limit For License Renewal?
Seniors at the Wheel: Should There Be An Age Limit For License Renewal? PDF Print E-mail

Q: When I drive in retirement and resort areas of Florida, I see many very elderly people at the wheel on roads and highways, and it makes me nervous. I’m 66, and I know I’m beginning to have some eye troubles and my reaction times are slowing down. My kids tell me it’ll soon be time to give up driving. Should there be an age limit on renewing driver’s licenses?

1920s roadster


A: Hell, no! I'm 80 plus and still drive every day. I'm not as good as I was 60 years ago, but I'm still safe and responsible at the wheel. Further, there are drivers in their 90s I'd much rather share the road with than any drunk-as-a-skunk 18-year-old. I know, because I was once one of those teenagers, and was lucky I didn't kill myself or anyone else by my booze-impaired driving.

It’s totally unfair discrimination to set some kind of an arbitrary age limit where seniors are automatically banned from driving. As 90 percent of teenage drivers obey all the laws and drive responsibly, the great majority of seniors on the road are at least as safe and responsible.

I do agree there should be more frequent driving tests for seniors. I'd recommend them every other year from age 60 to 70, and annually from age 71. Each person in those age groups should be examined by physicians for eyesight, reaction times and other physical conditions, and present them as proof of competence when applying for license renewals. They should also be required to go out on the road or test track with an instructor and be judged in all the normal driving situations.

I'm only half joking when I'd also test seniors by making them go through the typical license bureau hassles and delays in the waiting rooms. Anyone who can survive without exploding while enduring frustrating hours with those drones really deserves a license renewal or a medal for coolness under incompetence.

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