What You Need to Know about Senior Drivers
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Fri Jun 2017
- Auto Accident,
When it comes to senior drivers, New Jersey is in the minority. That’s not to say that the state has far less elderly folks getting behind the wheel. Rather, there are no additional license testing requirements tied to any particular age.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have specified provisions for what they term as mature drivers. At least one state requires vision testing for all drivers over age forty. In other jurisdictions, there may be additional license renewal requirements for drivers starting somewhere between age sixty and eighty.
Meanwhile, that’s not to say that New Jersey does not have a medical review process in place for consideration of license suspension. However, the process is just not age mandated.
Senior Drivers and License Suspension
No doubt you may have concerns about a family member or friend that you feel should not be on the road. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s list of considered impairments includes issues that may be related to an aging driver. Here are some examples:
- Visual impairment
- Memory loss or lapses
- Impaired or altered consciousness
- Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Neurological conditions, such as seizure or blackout disorders
Unfortunately, it may take an actual automobile accident for the state to become aware that a driver has safety concerns. Again, there is no unilateral process that requires even vision tests for aging motor vehicle operators in New Jersey.
Other Considerations Involving Seniors
It is patently clear how any of the impairments listed above could be contributing to an accident. Obviously, if a motor vehicle operator has vision problems, they may not see another car or pedestrian in the roadway. Response time could be slower.
Be that as it may, the American Automobile Association offers further insight into how elderly drivers could cause car crashes. For example, an older driver might take prescription medicine as ordered and not realize it could cause impairment.
Limitation on motion is also associated with aging adults. Consequently, it may be more difficult to negotiate turns or lane changes.
Senior Drivers and Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer some valuable insight concerning older drivers and automobile accidents. For starters, it is important to note the increase in the number of seniors getting behind the wheel. From 1999 until 2015, there was a fifty percent increase in the number of older drivers.
Although elderly motor vehicle operators tend to drive slower, that does not always equate to safety. Unfortunately, there is an increase in the risk of fatal accidents for drivers between the ages of 70-74. The numbers rise sharply for motor vehicle operators over 85 years old.
The CDC reports that vision problems and issues with cognitive functioning were cited as top contributors to motor vehicle accidents involving senior citizens. For those who survive an accident, the crash may be the determining factor in making the decision to stay off the road.