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At What Age Should the Elderly be Denied a Driver's License?

Updated on August 31, 2012

The problem will only get worse as the baby boomers migrate from middle age into old and elderly. Already, those before them raise the key issue. Should age determine if a person can drive their car, which to elderly people is freedom from reliance on others. Should age not matter as long as they pass the written and driving part of the test? Many will say yes, but just because they pass does not mean they are as alert and quick to respond to traffic as younger drivers. Old age does create absent minded people on a more frequent basis. Can a person with only mild Alzheimer's pass and drive a car? I don't know, but if they can, that could be dangerous. Absent minded people often step on the gas instead of the brake, slamming the car into stores, banks or into people. It has happened. Or, how about the 100 yr. old man, who backed his Cadillac out of a grocery store parking space hitting 14 people! What happened to him after hitting the first one? Was he even aware of what was going on? Seems not since there were 14 people, 11 were kids. Maybe he forgot where the brake pedal was.

Is 80, 90 or 100 yrs. old, too old to be driving? Stats point out that every day 10,000 boomers turn 65. Reflexes are vital in driving a car and if the elderly have lost them, they should voluntarily give up the driving right. When they know there is some impairment that may make driving a car dangerous, they should give up the right. In California, anyone 70+, must go the DMV to take the written exam and driving test. There about 71,000 drivers over age 90 in California.

The driving and age issue is a delicate one. It was very difficult for my own mother to stop driving at age 76 because of vision problems, I was quite nervous when she was driving.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Thanks, I agree on more testing at higher wages.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is a very useful and interesting hub because I am now a senior citizen living in Thailand. A few years ago I got a Thai driver's license after my stateside license expired. I was surprised to find out that I had to take and pass three tests even before becoming eligible to take the written test. The three tests included a color vision test, a depth perception test, and a test of my visual motor reaction skills. In this test we were seated at a wheel with an accelerator and a brake. When a red light when on, our reaction time in braking was measured. Tests like this should be required in the States for anyone applying for a driver's license. If a person is 75, 80, or 90 years old and still has a good mind and reaction skills, there is no reason to take away his independence and deny him or a license. Voted up and sharing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I voted this up because it presents a great argument for consideration on limiting the age of drivers. It is hard to know when to ask them to stop or to take away their rights. Some people are fine at 90 and others are terrible at 60. I do believe that testing needs to be analyzed and restructured to catch those who may cause society harm.

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I think that considering that there are hundreds of millions of people on the road in this country controlling giant metal boxes between a half-ton and 4 tons zipping around at up to 75 miles per hour, checks should be ongoing from the time you get a license until you die. Whoever thought that once you get a license, you are in "the club" for life was an idiot. People change. There are more than a few people who are on the road who have no business being there, and they're between 16 and 50.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image

      Johnkadu123 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think that the checks should begin at 75 years of age and then continue right up to when the driving authority discovers that the driver is incompetent. However I do accept the premise that some people lose some of their faculties much earlier. Testing and review allows the authorities to work out a good balance.