The Risks of Senior Drivers
In Texas, Katie's Law was put into place in 2007. This law says Texas drivers 79 years of age or older must renew their license in person. After 85 years of age, your driver’s license expires every 2 years.
As a person grows older, his or her ability to drive safely declines. Safe drivers require the complex coordination of many different skills. The physical and mental changes that accompany aging can diminish the abilities of senior drivers.
Age Diminishes Drivers by:
- Slowing down response times
- Losing clarity in vision and hearing.
- Losing muscle strength and flexibility.
- Increasing drowsiness due to medications
- Reducing the ability to focus or concentrate
- Lowering tolerance for alcohol
Just having one of these traits doesn't necessarily mean a senior driver should stop driving altogether, but close attention should routinely be paid to the person's driving skills to recognize when he or she should stop driving.
Here are a few telltale signs that a senior driver may be losing his or her ability to drive safely:
- Driving at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow.
- Asking passengers to help check if it is clear to pass or turn.
- Responding slowly to or not noticing pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists.
- Ignoring, disobeying, or misinterpreting street signs and traffic lights.
- Failing to yield to other cars or pedestrians who have the right-of-way.
- Failing to judge distances between cars correctly.
- Becoming easily frustrated and angry.
- Appearing drowsy, confused, or frightened.
- Having one or more near-accidents or near misses.
- Drifting across lane markings or bumping into curbs.
- Forgetting to turn on headlights after dusk.
- Having difficulty with glare from oncoming headlights, streetlights, or other bright or shiny objects, especially at dawn, dusk and at night.
- Having difficulty turning their head, neck, shoulders, or body while driving or parking.
- Ignoring signs of mechanical problems - including under-inflated tires.
- Having too little strength to turn the wheel quickly in an emergency such as a tire failure, a child darting into traffic, etc.
- Getting lost repeatedly, even in familiar areas.
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