Elderly drivers in California - how old is too old to drive?

Posted on in Car Accidents

A debate is heating up in California regarding age limits for motor vehicle drivers. Some believe that the Department of Motor Vehicles should establish an age limit for licensing while others adamantly disagree. Recently, a 100-year-old man backed his car into a group of people mostly made up of children, injuring 11.

Many argue that chronological age matters less than driving skills and believe the current licensing standards in California are sufficient. Young motorists in the state are granted up to two five-year license renewals without retesting, whereas individuals over the age of 70 must submit to regular eye and written tests.

According to the American Automobile Association, 10,000 people turn 65 every day and, by 2030, there will be about 57 million older drivers on the road. For those that age well, there may not be a problem with driving, but the issue lies in the fact that some no longer have the reflexes they once had but will not voluntarily give up their keys. Many seniors cling to the freedom driving offers them and have no intention of giving up their licenses.

Unfortunately, unsafe drivers of all ages are on California roads every day. Some do not realize their lack of driving skills until they are involved in accidents. Although there is a perception that older drivers may be dangerous, statistics show that teenagers are still the worst drivers of all age groups.

Source: Star-Telegram, "California accident puts elderly drivers back in headlights," John Rogers, August 30, 2012.

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