Brian Joyce, a State Senator from Massachusetts, has submitted a bill that would require anyone renewing their license after their 85th birthday to pass a vision and a road test every five years. Oh the controversy!
In a press release issued last week, Joyce, a Milton Democrat whose district includes the town of Canton, announced he is re-filing â€œAn Act to Promote Safe Driving,â€ a bill that would require all persons renewing their license after their 85th birthday to pass a vision and a road test every five years. Described by Joyce as â€œsimple age-based reforms,â€ the bill would nonetheless mark a distinct departure from current Massachusetts law, which â€œprohibits discrimination by reason of age with regard to licensing.â€
â€œCurrent law requires only a vision test once every 10 years,â€ Joyce explained, â€œwhich means that an 85-year-old driver can renew his or her license without further testing until age 95, at which time the driver would only have to pass a simple vision test.â€
There are presently about nineteen million seniors on the road in the U.S. By 2020 it’s expected that number will grow to 30 million. Statistics indicate drivers aged 75 and older have a 37% higher crash rate than younger drivers.
Is this an appropriate safety measure, to test aging drivers’ skills and abilities? Or is it age discrimination, ageism? The AARP has declared this bill discriminatory. When is it time to give up or take an elder’s car keys? What do YOU think?