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License-Renewal Bill Focuses on Older Drivers

Posted April 19, 2007
Updated April 20, 2007

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— There is legislation in the state House of Representatives to make senior citizens show they can still drive well enough to renew their licenses and to do that more often than current law requires.

Statistically, older drivers are not the most dangerous. Young drivers are considered a higher risk. However, teens really have to prove themselves to earn a license.

The bill that Rep. Ric Killian, R-Mecklenburg introduced Thursday seeks to have seniors do the same.

"I think my bill is a prudent way to insure that those who travel the road at all ages are a little more safe then they are today," Killian said.

The bill would make 75-year-old drivers reapply for a license every two years instead of every five and 85-year-old drivers reapply every year, and it would require all drivers over 75 to take a road test.

Currently, license are issued for a period of 5 or 8 years depending on a driver's age. Drivers between the ages of 18 to 53 will be issued licenses for 8 years. Those who are 54 and older will be issued licenses for 5 years.

Charles King is 81 and had no problem letting WRAL's Mark Roberts hop in for a ride.

"If I wasn't a safe driver, I don't believe I'd want to drive," King said.

Of Killian's bill, he said, "Hopefully that will not pass."

Killian says research inspired the bill.

"What I found was quite startling," he said. "In fact, fatalities begin to increase dramatically at age 65 and increase exponentially as time passes." Research shows drivers 75 and older have higher rates of deadly wrecks than any other group of drivers, except teenagers.

The last time a bill to regulate older drivers came up, the North Carolina office of the AARP lobbied against it. Officials say they need some time to go over this latest measure, but they gave a good indication of where they're leaning this time around.

"It is a concern," said Bob Jackson, state AARP director. He said he worries about cost "first to the DMV, to hire additional staff. Also, will individuals be facing that renewal cost every year so a 75-year-old will they have to pay up every two years for that renewal or the 85-year-old every year?"

The bill is headed for the House Transportation Committee.

91 Comments

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  • ReelThing Apr 22, 2007

    Thanks for the clarification, GoodDriver. One other small yet significant point. Insurance rates only discriminate against "inexperienced operators". Age does not matter...example: 40 year old gets license for first time (inexperienced operator).

  • strolling bones Apr 22, 2007

    She has never had a wreck...what would I report, she passed the eye examine and the driving test.

  • GoodDriver Apr 21, 2007

    The facts, y’all: ­Till last year, everyone renewed his or her license every 5 years. Current law allows people 18-53 to renew every 8 years. Anyone age 54 or older still must renew every 5 years. [Get it right next time, WRAL] DMV already has the authority to require a written test or a road test for any driver, any age, who has gotten a ticket or who has a physical or medical condition that might make them unable to drive a vehicle. You, your family, your friends, your neighbors, doctors, law enforcement, -- literally anyone – can report an unsafe driver to DMV in writing, and it will trigger a medical evaluation. These 3 facts show that the status quo is reasonable. It focuses on at-risk drivers of any age. The status quo won’t cost taxpayers any more than already budgeted to get bad drivers off the road. You complainers with personal family situations should just go ahead and take responsibility to report your unsafe drivers to DMV. The government already has a fa

  • strolling bones Apr 20, 2007

    when my mother went to renew her license we made plans on her being denied her license. She can not see. She has that macular stuff. Anyway...she passed. Granted she does not drive after dark and does not drive much. I feel like if an examiner had to get in the car with her...she would not have this license..How did she pass the eye test, with a little help for the examiner. She admitted this to me. It pretty much cripples my efforts to convince her to stop driving, after all the state thinks she is fine.

  • shera01 Apr 20, 2007

    The over 75 age group may have more accidnts,[except teens],but they are by far less dangerous on the road than those who talk on the cell phone or have their music blarring so loud that you can hear it a mile away.Just the other night I came very close to getting hit by someone on the cell phone.As I turned the corner they were so busy talking they didn't bother to look for on coming traffic.Even after we almost hit she kept right on talking as if nothing happened.In my opinion someone like that is far more dangerous than someone 75 yo.At least most of them,[75 yo],don't talk on cell phones while driving, look before turning and drive the speed limit if not slower.If you make anyone 75 and older take a driving test every year,then shouldn't those convicted of DUI take a test every year also? How many lives have been lost by drunk drivers?Why discriminate against the elderly and not the alcoholics?

  • bigjim835 Apr 20, 2007

    A so called Republican that has taken up a way to add another tax. I really think he should change parties and run as he really is, a liberal democrat. If a 75 y/o and up is going to have to retest every two years why not make this tax fall evenly on everyone and test all drivers every two years. I know some 75 y/o's that are in better shape and have sharper eye sight that 20 and 30 y/o's. I hope people see this for what it is and that is another form of taxation. Wonder if tax hike mike floated this ideal to this liberal Rep./Dem.

  • tarheel1980 Apr 20, 2007

    methinks that you are trying too hard. Nothing in this proposal takes anyone who can drive's license away. It only says that they have to prove their proficiency at a time in their life when many of a persons driving faculties are failing. This is no more unfair than making good drivers under 25 pay more for insurance. For that matter, it is no less fair than making me, a 48 year old, appear every 5 years to renew my license.

    I don't think that you support having incapable and even dangerous elderly drivers on the road. Giving someone the privilege to drive that cannot drive safely is wrong. It endangers lives.

  • 68_polara Apr 20, 2007

    "Research shows drivers 75 and older have higher rates of deadly wrecks than any other group of drivers, except teenagers." This is also influenced by the fact that elderly people are frail and are unfortunately much less likely to survive a bad accident. Just wait until our generation is elderly, we'll be driving with diminished capability and while on the cell phone!

  • mslisac363 Apr 20, 2007

    Old people do the same things that so call young people do. Their are more stupid people driving around with cell phones than me to worry about the old people. Sick of the cell users driving over the line, pulling into lanes without looking, and running under the posted speed because they are on the darn phone. My mother drove until she was 80 and never had an accident in her life. What in the heck did people do before they got sell phones?

  • methinks Apr 20, 2007

    "Research shows drivers 75 and older have higher rates of deadly wrecks than any other group of drivers, except teenagers."

    Does this research outline the difference between accidents that are caused by careless driving and individuals that actually die of natural caused while driving? Doesn't say that in the report above. So if the greatest number of accidents are caused by medical problems instead of careless driving are individuals of all ages going to have to pass medical exams? See where this is a never ending campaign.

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