Tests for over 75 drivers



Tests for over 75 drivers

drivers-licenseAccording to an article in the Republican

A key state legislative committee gave a favorable recommendation Tuesday to a bill that would require drivers 75 and older who are renewing their license to pass tests to prove they can safely operate a vehicle.

The action comes after a spate of fatal accidents recently involving elderly drivers in Massachusetts.

While this is certainly a move in the right direction, I have to ask, why 75?  Why not 55?  Why not a test for anyone who is involved in an accident, or perhaps just found at fault in an accident?  Why not a test at each license renewal?  While it may be true that new drivers, for a short period of time, actually know and adhere to the rules of the road, these good behaviors quickly fade as they spend more time on the road.   I’m often shocked by the lack of knowledge, of the general rules of the road, by drivers I have discussions with.  As the laws are frequently changing, wouldn’t it make sense to administer a test at each license renewal?

When my wife and I first moved to Rhode Island, we were both shocked when it came time to get our licenses that they required no test, whatsoever.  I’ve now held a driver’s license in three different states.  All except Rhode Island required at least a written test when moving into the state and transferring your driver’s license.


  • Matt
    Sep 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I too have lived in 3 states at 4 different times, and never had to retest when moving. (PA, MA, PA, RI)

    I like the idea that anyone found at fault in an accident needs to retest as well as at intervals. Are you talking about the driving skills test (turn signal use, parking, stopping, etc), a written test or both?

  • Sep 16, 2009 at 9:50 am

    It must be the states I’ve moved to, NY and MN then. Both of these required at a written test.

    I like the idea that anyone found at fault in an accident needs to retest as well as at intervals. Are you talking about the driving skills test (turn signal use, parking, stopping, etc), a written test or both?

    Off the cuff, I’d say a written test each time a license comes up for renewal. A driving skills test if you’ve been found at fault for an accident and after a certain age at each license renewal. Neither of these tests should be particularly hard for someone who is actively driving and if they are, well, then they shouldn’t be actively driving!

  • Barry
    Sep 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I believe the reason for 75 yrs in the Massachussetts bill is because statistically the likelihood of causing an accident starts to increase significantly for older drivers. Being 70 myself, I know what happens as one gets older, but generally the political power of seniors, who vote at much higher % than younger folk, makes it hard to pass such bills. I think that bicyclists, who are relatively vulnerable road users, should support bills such as the one in MA no matter what their age.

  • Urbaner
    Sep 17, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Rhode Island's not alone. New York doesn't require a test either, if you already hold a valid license in another state.

  • Sep 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I'm with Mark on the suggestion of re-tests @ renewal time. It seems to me that testing for better drivers – or better driving knowledge in the case of the written-only test – may cause less accidents in general, thereby lowering insurance premiums overall.

  • Alan Barta
    Sep 20, 2009 at 3:31 am

    "It’s not ageism to deny those under 15 years old to drive, so why not at least retest those over 75?"—Labann

    But license denial, revocation, or suspension doesn't guarantee zero collisions or lower insurance premiums. People routinely drive without licenses and insurers charge whatever they want without state oversight.

    Adjudication of jail sentences and business regulation are the follow through needed. But those require legislation by a congress stacked with insurers, lawyers and realtors, none of whom are motivated to increase traffic safety, only gas consumption and number of motorists. And city and state planners seem to compete to install the most dangerous roads possible, like alternating left/right exits and lane shifts at lights and on highways, shoulderless stretches, suicide lanes, or twisty roads with bad sight lines. So it's not just individuals who need education, only individuals are easier to blame and fine for revenues.

  • Richard
    Sep 20, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Alan, how can you even get out of bed in a world so lacking in possibility, fraught with danger and corrupt in leadership?

    Jesus! I am having to get all the sharp objects out of my sight at this point.

  • Alan Barta
    Sep 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I drive as little as possible, go out early, and ride a bike. Did you know that doctors and psychologists agree that mild repetitive exercise, particularly bicycling, cures depression and makes your brain work properly?

    I expect cyclists to organize and use their unalienable power to RECALL governors, legislators, and mayors who have made RI LAST PLACE in employment, prospects, and reputation. It was done "successfully" in California, only they wound up with "the governator". But it doesn't have to be that way if you also include election reform and rid yourself of the rich megalomaniacs and power junkies who typically run for office.

  • Emily
    Sep 24, 2009 at 5:53 am

    I firmly believe EVERYONE should be tested in some capacity in order to renew a driver's license. I don't just mean an eye test.