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Driving Safely for Senior Drivers

Category:gps tracker for vehicles

smarketingOctober 18, 2023

Life is a gift. There is not a more appropriate word to describe it, but the sad fact remains that it must end. Thankfully, the life expectancy of humans has increased greatly due to the advancements made in the field of medical science.

Now, you may not feel overly enthusiastic when you look at the current statistics in the USA. For example, the average life expectancy dropped to 77 in 2020 and further in 2021 to just over 76. However, there is light over the horizon. Scientists believe the capacity of the human body currently reaches its limits at around 115 years.

Old age can be a hindrance, but it does not have to rob senior individuals of their independence. That's why there were over 48 million licensed drivers aged 65 or over in America in 2020 - an increase of 68% since 2000, as per the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation (US).

Actually, in the present day and age, it is not surprising to see someone in their 80s or 90s cruising down the road in their personal vehicles! Even after knowing all these facts, the loved ones of senior folks feel concerned whenever they drive. Why do they worry? Is there a cause?

Concerns

Drivers must be aware of the traffic laws, follow the rules of the road, and incorporate defensive driving skills to stay safe. However, this is not going to be enough. Good knowledge of traffic laws and driving skills alone will not do the trick. One needs to be healthy physically and mentally, and older people often fail to meet the requirements.

Physical

  • No health condition that may cause a driver to lose control or become immobilized while driving

Sensory

  • Must not be color blind
  • 20/40 combined vision (glasses and contact lenses allowed)

Mental

  • Able to process sensory functions
  • Able to focus
  • Being mentally and emotionally stable
  • Able to judge time, distance, and speed
  • Able to identify driving hazards, process them, make sound decisions, and react accordingly

As everyone ages differently, there is no arbitrary cutoff regarding when someone should stop sitting behind the wheel. However, older drivers are far more likely to receive traffic tickets and get into accidents than younger drivers. What is the reason behind this increase? Factors like decreased vision, impaired hearing, slower motor reflexes, and worsening health conditions become problematic with age.

Aging also reduces strength, coordination, and flexibility, which, in turn, can affect the ability to control a car safely.

  1. Neck stiffness or pain reduces head maneuverability to look over the shoulder.
  2. Leg pain can make it difficult for older individuals to move their feet from the gas to the brake pedal and vice versa.
  3. Reduced strength in the arms makes it difficult to turn the steering wheel effectively and quickly.
  4. Reaction times decrease with age.
  5. It becomes difficult to divide attention between several activities.

For an older licensed driver without dementia, lower levels of cognitive function can cause motor vehicle crashes. Depression, on the other hand, increases the risk of accidents in older licensed drivers without dementia.

How to keep them safe

America has individual laws in each state on how often a person has to retake their driver's license after a certain age. Use the guide below to learn more about your state's special provisions for seniors.

Rules of driving license renewal for seniors by state

  • Alabama - License renewal every four years for all drivers. No vision test is required. Senior drivers have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may have to take a written knowledge test.
  • Alaska - License renewal every five years. Drivers aged 69 or more may need to take a vision test at every renewal and, possibly, a written knowledge test.
  • Arizona - License renewal every five years for people aged 65 or older. They must undergo a vision test during every renewal. A written knowledge test may also be necessary.
  • Arkansas - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. They must take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill.
  • California - License renewal every five years for all drivers. People aged 70 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Colorado - License renewal every five years for all drivers. Additionally, all drivers must take a vision test at every license renewal. There are no special requirements for seniors, but they may need to take a written test.
  • Connecticut - License renewal every six years. You do not need a vision test, and there are no special requirements for seniors, but they may have to take a written test.
  • Delaware - License renewal every eight years. All drivers must take a vision test at every license renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may need to take a written test.
  • District of Columbia - License renewal every eight years. All drivers must take a vision test at every renewal. While there are no special requirements for seniors, they may need to take a written knowledge test.
  • Florida - License renewal every six years for people aged 80 or more. These people must take a vision test at every renewal and maybe a written knowledge test.
  • Georgia - License renewal every eight years. Drivers need to take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill but may need to take a written knowledge test.
  • Hawaii - License renewal every two years for people aged 72 and older. Additionally, all drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test.
  • Idaho - License renewal every four years for people aged 63 and older. Drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Illinois - License renewal every two years for people aged between 81 and 86 and one year for people aged 87 or older. Additionally, drivers aged 75 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Indiana - License renewal every three years for people aged between 75 and 84 and two years for people aged 85 or older. Additionally, drivers aged 75 and older must take a vision test at every renewal. A written knowledge test may also be a mandate.
  • Iowa - License renewal every two years for people aged 72 or older. Drivers aged 70 and older need to take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test.
  • Kansas - License renewal every four years for people aged 65 and older. All drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test.
  • Kentucky - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. Vision tests are not mandatory, and seniors have no special requirements to fulfill. However, they may need to take a written knowledge test.
  • Louisiana - License renewal every six years for all drivers. People aged 70 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Maine - License renewal every four years for people aged 65 and older. Drivers aged 62 and above must take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test.
  • Maryland - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. People aged 40 and above must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Massachusetts - License renewal every five years for all drivers. Additionally, all drivers aged 75 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and maybe a written knowledge test.
  • Michigan - License renewal every four years for all drivers. Vision tests are not mandatory, and seniors need not fulfill special requirements. However, they may need to take a written knowledge test.
  • Minnesota - License renewal every four years for all drivers. Car owners must take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements, but must sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Mississippi - License renewal every eight years. Vision tests are not mandatory, and seniors do not have to fulfill any special requirements, but they may need to take a written knowledge test.
  • Missouri - License renewal every three years for people aged 70 and older. Additionally, all drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Montana - License renewal every four years for people aged 75 and older. Additionally, all drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Nebraska - License renewal every five years for all drivers. Anyone aged 72 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • Nevada - License renewal every four years for people aged 65 and older. Additionally, all drivers aged 71 and above must take a vision test at every renewal. Drivers may even need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • New Hampshire - License renewal every five years for drivers of all ages. They must also take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test. However, there are no special requirements for seniors.
  • New Jersey - License renewal every four years for people aged 70 and older. All drivers must take a vision test every ten years and possibly sit for a written knowledge test.
  • New Mexico - License renewal every four years for people between 67 and 74 and one year for people aged 75 or older. Additionally, drivers aged 75 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test if necessary.
  • New York - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. Drivers need to take a vision test at every renewal. While there are no special requirements for seniors, they may need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • North Carolina - License renewal every five years for people aged 66 and above. All drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • North Dakota - License renewal every four years for people aged 78 and above. Furthermore, all drivers must take a vision test during renewal and possibly sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Ohio - License renewal every four years for all drivers. Additionally, drivers need to take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may have to take a written knowledge test.
  • Oklahoma - License renewal every four years for all drivers. Vision tests are not necessary. Seniors do not have to fulfill any special requirements, either. However, they may have to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Oregon - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. Additionally, people aged 50 and above need to take a vision test at every renewal. Sitting for a written knowledge test may also be necessary.
  • Pennsylvania - License renewal every four years for people aged 65 and older. Vision tests are not necessary, but written knowledge tests may be.
  • Rhode Island - License renewal every two years for people aged 75 and older. All drivers must take a vision test at every renewal and possibly a written knowledge test.
  • South Carolina - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. Additionally, all drivers need to take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors do not have any special requirements, but they may need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • South Dakota - License renewal every five years for all drivers. Furthermore, drivers aged 65 and older must take a vision test at every renewal and maybe a written knowledge test.
  • Tennessee - License renewal every eight years. Vision tests are not mandatory, and seniors have no special requirements to fulfill. However, they may need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Texas - License renewal every two years for people aged 85 and older. Additionally, all drivers aged 79 and older must take a vision test at every renewal. Taking a written knowledge test may also be necessary.
  • Utah - License renewal every five years for all drivers. Anyone aged 65 or older must take a vision test at every renewal and a written knowledge test if necessary.
  • Vermont - License renewal every four years for all drivers. A vision test is unnecessary, and seniors have no special requirements to fulfill. However, they may need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Virginia - License renewal every five years for people aged 75 and older. Additionally, all drivers aged 75 and older must take a vision test at every license renewal. They may even have to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Washington - License renewal every six years for all drivers. Additionally, vehicle owners must take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may have to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • West Virginia - License renewal every eight years for all drivers, and everyone is expected to take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements, but may have to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Wisconsin - License renewal every eight years for all drivers. Additionally, everyone needs to take a vision test at every renewal. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may need to sit for a written knowledge test.
  • Wyoming - License renewal every four years for all drivers. Additionally, all drivers must take a vision test every eight years. Seniors have no special requirements to fulfill, but they may need to take a written knowledge test.

Well, there you have it - an inclusive list of all the states with an overview of the driving laws enforced by the local governments. A GPS tracker for vehicles can bolster elderly safety even further with telematics features, geofencing, driver scoring, location tracking, maintenance alerts, accident alerts, car health monitoring, fuel tracking, 24/7 roadside assistance, and so much more!

Independence matters

Yes, more and more seniors drive these days, even if you think they should not. Simultaneously, the life expectancy of the average human has increased. So, it is natural for someone to drive cars in their 80s.

If you care for your loved ones, you should avoid taking away their freedom, as it is the first thing they lose with age and independence. Appropriate precautions and Vyncs are a great option to keep senior family members safe and sound on the road.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/older_adult_drivers/index.html
  2. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/how-aging-affects-driving.htm
  3. https://www.allure.com/story/the-future-of-aging#:~:text=Today%2C%20the%20average%20American%20life,at%20around%20115%20years%20old.
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-life-expectancy-in-the-us-is-falling-202210202835#:~:text=With%20rare%20exceptions%2C%20life%20expectancy,just%20over%2076%2C%20in%202021.
  5. https://www.driverseducationusa.com/resources/physical-and-mental-requirements-of-a-driver/#:~:text=Ability%20to%20focus,react%20appropriately%20to%20each%20situation
  6. https://www.thezebra.com/resources/driving/driving-rules-seniors/#:~:text=Drivers%20between%20the%20ages%20of%2067%20and%2074%20are%20required,take%20a%20written%20knowledge%20test.

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