“We’ll be ready when it’s time for one of us to stop,” he said.
Where you live determines what extra requirements, if any, older adults must meet to keep their driver’s license.
Among the most strict rules: Illinois requires a road test to check driving skills with every license renewal starting at age 75 _ and starting at age 81, those renewals are required every two years instead of every four. At 87, Illinois drivers must renew annually.
In Washington, D.C., starting at age 70, drivers must bring a doctor’s certification that they’re still OK to drive every time they renew their license.
New Mexico requires annual renewals at 75.
Geographic variability makes little sense, said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “Either I’m safe to drive or I’m not. Where I live shouldn’t matter,” he said.
Yet when Iowa drivers turn 70, they must renew their license every two years instead of every five. Neighboring Missouri lets the 70-year-olds renew every three years instead of every six.
Some states introduce age requirements after high-profile accidents. Massachusetts now requires drivers to start renewing licenses in person at age 75, with proof of an eye exam. The change came after an 88-year-old driver struck and killed a 4-year-old crossing a suburban Boston street in 2009.
This summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a national guideline for older driver safety that, if finalized, would push states to become more consistent. Among the recommendations: Every state needs a program to improve older driver safety; doctors should be protected from lawsuits if they report a possibly unsafe driver; and driver’s licenses should be renewed in person after a certain age, tailored to each state’s crash data.
Still, many states say their main focus should be on inexperienced teen drivers and problems such as texting behind the wheel.
“Teens are risk takers. Our older drivers are risk avoiders,” said Alabama state Rep. Jim McClendon. Alabama drivers renew licenses every four years, with no older age requirements.
New Hampshire last year stopped requiring road tests when 75-year-olds renewed their licenses. The law was repealed after an 86-year-old legislator called it discriminatory.
It’s not the only state worrying about age discrimination.
“You don’t want to go around and say, `This person is 85. We’ve got to take them off the road.’ That wouldn’t be fair,” said Assemblyman David Gantt of New York, where licenses last for eight years.View Entire Story
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