Massachusetts Lawmakers Under Pressure to Test Older Drivers

Like many other states, Massachusetts does not mandate testing for older drivers aside from eye tests, which are required every ten years for all drivers. However, two recent Massachusetts car crashes involving elderly drivers have highlighted the issue of retesting older drivers and lawmakers are now under increased pressure to pass legislation that would monitor elderly drivers more carefully.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers over age 65 will make up a quarter of all drivers by 2025. Other researchers say that drivers pose a greater risk of causing a car accident around age 70 and that risk increases dramatically after age 80. Older drivers are also more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. However, some advocates for the elderly oppose testing targeted at senior citizens because they fear the measure may be discriminatory.

Last week, Governor Deval Patrick supported legislation that would require drivers age 85 and older to pass a road test and eye test every five years in order to renew their driver’s licenses.

Pressure mounts to test elder drivers, Boston Globe, June 8, 2009
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