Should elder people be able to drive?

Topics: Driver's license, Driving test, Trial Pages: 2 (435 words) Published: May 23, 2014
After age 79, Texas law requires that drivers renew their licenses in person and take an eye test. At 85, drivers have to renew every two years. They do not have to take written or driving tests.

Texas DPS regulations say drivers' license office representatives "are trained to evaluate an applicant's physical appearance and conduct a basic medical evaluation on every individual who applies for a drivers' license."

After he was renewed, the Pickles daughters parked their father's car at one of their homes, where they thought he could not get it. He got the vehicle and drove it to Oklahoma. He, again, had to be retrieved.

Then the daughters tried to get the license revoked. They had their father take a physical exam at the VA. It determined he suffered from mild cognitive impairment, and had hearing loss. They submitted those findings to the DPS, along with a form questioning his ability to drive.

They say DPS told them that was not enough to revoke the license.

"It was surprising to us that they would give him another license, given all the information we had for them,” Pat Mitchell said.

These incidents are not surprising to Jerry Wall of Aledo. Wall has a prosthetic leg, from a near fatal head-on collision with 82-year-old Vernell Ingram in 2010.

"I've got a scar almost all the way from my knee up to my pelvis," said Wall, who spent 25 days in a hospital.

Wall was awarded more than $5 million in a jury trial against Ingram. She was not criminally charged, but was required to take a driver’s test. She failed the test four times, and examiners notes say she signaled incorrectly, made bad turns, and hit a pole while being tested.

On her fifth try, she was awarded a license.

Illinois is the only state where older drivers -- ages 81 and over -- have to be tested more frequently than younger drivers. For nationwide changes to happen, each state would have to revise its own laws.

The biggest opponent, reformers say, is the AARP, which...
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