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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Bill Tracker: SB 180 & HB 84 - Driver's License Renewal for the Elderly

How old is too old to drive? SB 180 and HB 84 attempt to limit the renewal of driver's licenses for the elderly. The cut off date in these bills is 90 years old. Anyone over 90 that still wants to drive would have to pass a vision test and demonstrate an ability to control a motor vehicle. The bill analysis for SB 180 states, "Insurance companies have reported that drivers of the age 80 and above are high risk drivers as their sight and responsiveness deteriorates."

We are not immune to mandatory retirement ages. The Federal Aviation Administration clips the wings of pilots once they reach 60 (the FAA is raising the age to 65). Many states have mandatory retirement for judges. The rationale behind this is that we all are prone to losing some physical ability with age.

But isn't this a false barrier? If the insurance industry says 80 is the magic number for ability, then why is this legislation set at 90? Isn't the real problem that we have drivers with bad vision and poor reflexes driving?

What would be wrong with making the requirement for driver's license renewal the same for everyone, instead of just those 90 and over? I guarantee that there are people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s that would fail the vision and responsiveness tests. If the point is to get ill equipped drivers off the road, then why start and stop at 90?

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