Safety on the Road with Older Drivers
In one of our recent Facebook posts, we asked our community if they thought that drivers over a certain age should be re-tested in order to keep their driver’s licenses. As the responses came pouring in, the general consensus was that re-testing is a must, especially in a state with as many retirees as our own state of Florida. Currently, the state only requires that drivers above 80 have vision tests when renewing their licenses. States tend to be all over the grid when it comes to regulating older drivers. Illinois, for example, has some of the most comprehensive elder driver law in the country. Resident of Illinois are required to renew their license bi-annually between ages of 81 to 86, and annually after their 87th birthday. The state also enforces vision tests, written tests, and road tests for every renewal above the age of 75.
According to the Associated Press, more older drivers are on the road now than ever before. In an interview with Fox News, Joseph Coughlin, head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, said that “healthy older drivers aren’t necessarily less safe than younger ones, but many older people have health issues that can impair driving, from arthritis to dementia, from slower reflexes to the use of multiple medications. There’s no easy screening tool that licensing authorities can use to spot people with subtle health risks. So some states use birthdays as a proxy for more scrutiny instead”.
Although Florida does not have strict renewal laws in effect, there are available safety measures older drivers can take. AARP offers senior driving courses designed specifically to improve flexibility for the checking of blind spots and ensure smoother left turns. Some seniors also choose to voluntarily cut back on their driving and avoid night driving altogether.
For all Florida drivers, the quickest method of recourse to ensure safer roads is to simply report any odd driving observed to the police. Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Transportation also has a medical reporting form available where any person can report an individual whose driving ability is questionable. This form allows the state to investigate whether or not that particular individual should be authorized to drive and is completely confidential. No civil or criminal action may be brought against someone for filing a report. The medical reporting form can be found here: https://www.flhsmv.gov/forms/72190.pdf
As always, if you find yourself in need of help in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 561-266-9191.