Senior Drivers Support Tougher License Renewal Rules to Keep Roads Safer

By Aaron Mamiit | Dec 02, 2014 07:43 AM EST

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, America's senior citizens want their fellow older drivers to prove that they are still fit to drive.

According to a survey carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 70 percent of senior citizens believe that drivers with ages of over 75 years old should undergo medical screening and have their driver's license renewed in person.

However, as it currently stands, only 33 states have additional requirements for senior drivers in place.

Lon Anderson, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman, revealed that the popular opinion among the public and politicians is that senior citizens don't want to have tougher standards implemented on them. Politicians and lawmakers are wary of implementing laws that could be unpopular among senior citizens because there is a higher percentage of a senior citizens voting during elections compared to all other age groups.

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However, the survey reveals that senior citizens are perfectly fine with additional regulations, even those implemented specifically for them, as long as the new laws will make the roads and themselves safer.

Other reports lay out a foundation for the wish of senior citizens for added regulations. According to the California Highway Patrol, in 2012, 66 percent of car collisions that had a senior citizen driver involved which led to a fatality or injury was caused by the senior citizen driver.

The issue remains despite another survey by the AAA that contradicts the notion that senior citizen drivers are accident-prone. The survey reveals that 90 percent of senior citizen drivers have not been involved in an accident or even a traffic violation for the previous two years, while 66 percent of drivers older than 75 years old have not used their mobile phone while driving. This is compared to the only 18 percent of drivers with ages 25 years old to 39 years old that said that they have not used their mobile phones while behind the wheel.

For every six cars out on the road, one has a senior citizen aged 65 years or older driving it. Almost nine out of 10 senior American citizens are still driving, compared to lower than 50 percent 40 years in the past. A surprising 68 percent of drivers aged 85 years old or older reveal that they are driving five or more days weekly.

"We have an aging population and, in many cases, the laws have not particularly caught up to them," said Anderson. "Clearly, we're going to have to do a better job, for example, of having lighted signage."

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