Sunday, January 15, 2006

driver's license renewal

The U.S. has more than 146 million drivers, and over 21 million (about 15 percent) of them are 60 and over. Statistics about California drivers are of special interest because that state has one of the highest rates of automobile usage and miles driven in the world. California reports that 64 percent of its population over age 65 is licensed, about one in three persons over 80 holds a license, and some 3,500 people over 90 have valid licenses. Several studies have compared the rate of accidents for older people with those of younger people, but the results are contradictory. Although no firm generalizations can be made at this time, it appears possible that older drivers may have accident rates more like those of people under 25 than people aged 25-65.
Requirements for renewal of driver's licenses vary from state to state. Inquiries should be made at each state office concerning their regulations, particularly when moving to a new area.
Forty-one states or jurisdictions have some type of retesting or re-examination program, which may include vision screening, knowledge, or sign recognition. Five require a medical report. In New Jersey, 10 percent of drivers have random vision checks. Ten states and the District of Columbia require special testing based on age. In Maine, vision is tested at ages 40, 52, and 65. Oregon checks vision at age 50. Pennsylvania begins checking vision at age 45 and conducts random medical testing at age 45. Knowledge and road testing are conducted in Illinois every three years starting at age 69 and in the District of Columbia, Indiana, and New Hampshire beginning at age 75. In New Mexico, drivers over age 75 must have their licenses renewed annually. Iowa and Rhode Island retest drivers 70 years of age and older every two years, and in Hawaii, drivers over age 65 must renew their licenses every two years.
Stems, H. L.; Barrett, G. V.; and Alexander, R. A. "Accidents and the Aging Individual," in
Birren, J. E., and Schaie, K. W., eds. Handbook of the Psychology of Aging. 2nd ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1985.

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