Should older drivers be retested more often?

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Greg Peck
November 27, 2012

I know we’ve discussed this issue in my blogs previously, but Sunday’s story on Page 6C provides more fuel for thought. On June 29, a 90-year-old driver in Eau Claire left the roadway and drove his truck onto a bike path, striking and killing 51-year-old bicyclist Kirk Cartwright. Now, Cartwright’s siblings plan to speak with legislators about requiring drivers 65 and older to pass road tests every two years to demonstrate they are capable drivers.

Does this make sense? Current state law says drivers must renew their licenses every eight years. They must pass only a vision test. There are no special provisions for elderly drivers.

Nancy Thompson, spokeswoman for AARP, says testing older people alone won’t reduce the number of crashes. She said the best way to identify seniors no longer capable of driving is to schedule in-person driver renewals.

State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R, Marathon City, says shortening the interval between renewals for seniors might make sense.

“If somebody is 75 and they’re not going to renew for another eight years, well, guess what, they’re going to be well into their 80s. …. I do believe there is support for reducing that eight-year renewal,” he says.

At what age do you think fresh road tests should be mandated, and at what intervals?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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