Older Drivers and Florida Car Accidents
Viral videos online and media news stories sometimes give the impression that older drivers are unsafe drivers. In fact, some states have special rules for older drivers, which require them to get re-tested for their license every few years. Rules such as this as well as popular perceptions of drivers have provoked a lot of controversy.
Although driving is considered a privilege, in today’s society it is considered very important for personal freedom. Driving allows people to remain independent, to work, and to remain active in their communities. It also ensures that they are not isolated. At the same time, however, it is important to keep everyone safe by removing unsafe drivers from the road. However, experts often disagree about whether tests for older drivers are age discrimination or simple safety precautions.
Some claim that testing for older drivers just makes sense because it ensures that dementia, vision loss, and other age-related problems do not affect driving skill. These experts believe that because drivers are so dependant on driving they may not readily surrender their privileges even if they have problems which can affect their driving. They also note that other high-risk groups – such as young drivers – have additional restrictions in place to keep accident rates low.
Other experts claim that elderly drivers do not have a worse driving record than any other age group and such tests do not necessarily remove unsafe drivers from the road. They also claim that drivers who are elderly may prematurely give up driving rather than submit to testing, even if they are safe on the road. Finally, some experts claim that if other age groups do not have submit to testing, elderly drivers should not have to submit to retesting, either.
In Florida, drivers over the age of 80 must take a vision test when applying to renew their license. There are 2 million drivers in Florida over the age of 65 and there are 250 000 drivers in the state older than 85. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2009, 5928 drivers between the ages of 80 and 90 were involved in Florida car accidents. There were 116 fatalities caused by these accidents. That year, Florida had 629,699 drivers 80-90 years of age.