Senior drivers support self-crackdown
From bans on cell phones while driving to tougher penalties for drunk drivers, it's not surprising that senior citizens support tougher driving laws. But an overwhelming majority support greater scrutiny in the license-renewal process for themselves and their peers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The foundation's latest report, "Older American Drivers and Traffic Safety Culture," indicates that more than seven in 10 drivers age 65 and older support policies that require drivers age 75 and older to go through testing in order to renew their license.
"Seniors are very proactive when it comes to their driving safety. They are usually self-regulating, meaning they tend to limit their driving when they are not comfortable. They tend to not drive at night or be on the roads during heavy traffic times. They stick to the roads they know and they do turn in their keys when they no longer feel they can drive safely," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Other key findings:
- Nearly 80 percent of drivers over age 75 favor medical screenings for drivers ages 75 and older.
- Nearly 90 percent of older drivers (65 and older) reported no crashes in the last two years.
- Similarly, 90 percent of older drivers reported no moving violations.
- 65 percent of drivers age 75 and older reported never using a cell phone while driving compared to only 48 percent of the younger "older" drivers (those age 65-69) who never use a phone when behind the wheel
"With nearly nine out of 10 seniors aged 65 and older still driving, it appears that additional years behind the wheel not only make drivers older, but wiser," Noble said. "As older adults live longer and spend more time behind the wheel, it's promising to see a trend towards a more pro-safety culture with increasing age."
Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation also released the Understanding Older Drivers: an Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use and Travel Behaviors report that found:
- 86 percent of those age 65 and older still drive.
- 84 percent of Americans age 65 and older hold a driver's license compared to barely half in the early 1970s.
- 68 percent of drivers age 85 plus report driving five or more days a week
In New Jersey, there are no laws that require retesting based on age.
"If a person believes their senior parent shouldn't be driving, there are medical forms they can fill out," Noble said. "Police can fill out the forms if they believe a person should be re-evaluated based on summonses. Doctors can fill them out as well."