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Tougher Rules May Be Coming for Older Drivers in Virginia

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Elderly drivers in Virginia may be making more trips to the DMV if the state adopts recommendations from the transportation committee regarding stricter license-renewal rules.

Currently, the only regulation that exists regarding elderly drivers is they must renew in person and pass a vision test every eight years.

Other states have similar rules, and many have no restrictions at all.

Most notably, the recommendations from the committee include lowering the age for required in-person renewal to 75, and reducing the renewal rate to five years instead of eight.

Six percent of Virginia’s licensed drivers are 75 and older.

Many believe the recommendations seem fair. Nancy Lo, the coordinator of Virginia GrandDriver, a program focused on educating the elderly on how age affects driving, commented:

“We want to help them stay mobile,” she said. “But we also want them to be safe.”

Not everyone supports the recommendations, however. Ginger Thompson, a director at AARP, responded by saying:

“The real factor is health and ability, not age,”

17 percent of traffic deaths in the United States involve people 65 and older, at a time when that age group made up 13 percent of the population, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Elderly drivers are also more likely to suffer serious injury or death, because they are more brittle.

New laws aren’t expected anytime soon, with the most recent “texting while driving” laws taking years to enact.

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