Lowering renewal age of driving licenses reduces risks for elderly

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer

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Many people die from accidents involving a vehicle, whether they were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

People are always looking for new ways to make our roads safer. Car accidents are almost always caused by human error, rather than mechanical malfunctions.

Most senior citizens who have their driver’s license have been driving for quite some time. Most of them have become more skilled throughout the years. But because of illness, fading vision and hearing impairments that come with old age, after 70, the driver should have to retake the driving test every 10 years due to concerns involving safety.

My grandfather has the early stages of on-setting dementia. He has loved to drive his entire life. But soon after the effects of his illness started surfacing, he started running into things when he was driving. My grandmother has never had her driver’s license. Therefore, my grandfather was their only means of transportation. He insisted that he was perfectly fine while driving.

But one day, my grandfather dropped my grandmother off at a doctor’s appointment and then proceeded to head to the store. My grandma did not see my grandpa for 36 hours after that. There was an Amber Alert sent out, and cops were out searching for his vehicle. He was later found hours away from home.

To ensure his safety and the safety of others, his license was revoked.

This is only one example of how dangerous it can be for the elderly to have a driver’s license if it is not periodically checked.

They might not be particularly happy about it, but it will protect many people from possible accidents. Currently, in Texas, after age 79, the only additional requirements is they have to renew their license in person, and they have to do a vision test.

After the age of 70, the number of accidents goes up. This is no coincidence, and people need to start taking notice that this is a problem. There are plenty of efforts made to prevent drunk driving. But hardly anyone recognizes the risk with elderly drivers.

Not only are they in danger, but the people around them are too. They can have a slower reaction time, as well as other problems that cause car accidents.

If they are fit to drive, then it won’t be that much harder to take an extra 30 minutes to complete a driving test. It can prevent accidents and save money, time, and even lives down the road.

I do not understand why so many are against the idea when it has so many benefits. We need to start making it a priority to protect the elderly from others and themselves.

Having to renew a driver’s license every 10 years will not be too much of an inconvenience. It is better to spend this little bit of time protecting people from others and themselves, than having to pay the price later.

People have spoken up about it before, but not nearly enough. That needs to change.

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