LawFuel.com – Chicago Injury Law News – On behalf of The Law Office of Joseph M. Dooley posted in Car Accidents on Monday, September 17, 2012, a report on assessing the risk of elderly drivers on the road.
Determining whether a person is a safe driver is not exactly a science quite yet. Of course there are ways to tell if a person is impaired, distracted or has a history of poor driving, but those are bad behaviors, not abilities. One difficult challenge that states, including Illinois, face is how to determine if a driver’s age makes them a risk on the roads.
We have long known that teen and novice drivers don’t always have the experience to make safe and quick decisions while driving. But these young drivers work through a system of a graduated license in many states. Some people are beginning to wonder if these types of restrictions would work on the other end of the age spectrum. Should there be similar restrictions placed on elderly drivers?
This is a sensitive topic on both sides of the debate. On the one hand, elderly drivers are not necessarily unsafe drivers. They drive less frequently are typically not drunk, distracted or speeding. Many of the car accidents that involve older drivers are the result of slower reflexes, vision restrictions or physical limitations.
However, the fact remains that there are many accidents caused by an elderly driver who should maybe not be allowed to drive any longer. There are 34 million drivers who are 65 or older who drive today. In less than 20 years, that number will skyrocket to about 57 million drivers. Because of this, people are looking for solutions that fairly assess the driving abilities of older drivers.
Across the states, the requirements that drivers must meet in order to renew their license varies significantly. Some states make drivers renew a license in person after a certain age. Others require more frequent vision and driving testing. In Illinois, all drivers over the age of 75 must renew their license in person and take a driving test. Drivers over the age of 87 must renew their license every year.
It is an unfortunate reality that some elderly drivers on the road are a danger to others. Some lawmakers, and families, are afraid that it will take a serious accident for a person to truly realize that he or she should not be driving. In the coming years, many people hope that technological advances and more uniform testing and restrictions will help spot dangerous drivers before an accident ever has to happen.