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How Old is Too Old to Drive?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

The debate over older driver laws and just how old is too old to drive was brought up this week when a 100-year-old driver backed his Cadillac into a group of school children in Los Angeles.

Fortunately, no one was killed in the accident, but the incident probably brought up memories of near misses you have had with older drivers.

Too often, we've heard stories of older drivers running red lights, failing to see stop signs, and just generally reacting slowly in causing accidents. As a result, many may be wondering whether an older driver law should be passed to take the keys away from drivers once they hit a certain age, reports The Associated Press.

Some states have already passed older driver laws and require that drivers retake the driving examination or vision examination once they hit a certain age. For example, in California, drivers over the age of 70 must retake the written test and eye exam. And even if the older driver passes these tests, the DMV may request that you perform the physical driving test.

However, no state currently provides an upper limit on driving age, such as a law that requires all drivers to turn over their keys once they 80 or 85.

The reason for no uniform upper limit is likely because every driver experiences a unique diminishing of driving abilities. Some drivers may lose it when they hit 50, while other drivers may be perfectly capable drivers well into their 90s.

Another reason for no upper age for driving may be because the statistics do not really bear out the belief that older drivers don't drive well. In fact, drivers in their mid- to late-80s have lower crash rates than drivers in their 20s. And older drivers are nowhere near as dangerous as teen drivers.

Every time there is an older driver incident like the one in Los Angeles, the debate about older driver laws will begin. But the truth is that for every older driver incident you'll read about, you'll probably read five more regarding teens or 20-somethings.

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