Several Massachusetts car accidents earlier this year have highlighted the controversial issue of whether senior citizens should be subject to extra scrutiny when renewing their driver’s licenses. While AARP has sponsored a driver safety refresher course for the past thirty years, Massachusetts seniors are not enrolling in the course at the same rate as their counterparts in other New England states. Between January 1 and September 30, less than a thousand senior citizens opted to take the refresher class. According to AARP Massachusetts, enrollment in Massachusetts was 11,000 less than in Connecticut.
One explanation for this discrepancy is that insurance companies in Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island offer discounts to drivers who complete the course, while Massachusetts does not.
Taught by AARP volunteers, the four-hour refresher course covers basics like hearing, vision, and flexibility changes in older drivers, driving alongside bigger vehicles, and driving or braking in inclement weather. Participants receive a 121-page driver’s manual with visual aids, instructions, and quizzes. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are considering a bill that would require Massachusetts drivers over the age of 75 to retake road and visions tests every five years.
Source: Course puts elder drivers on road to safer driving, Boston Herald, November 8, 2009
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