According to the Department of Public Safety, older drivers in Texas have special licensing requirements that they must meet when renewing their licenses in order to ensure these senior drivers are still safe on the roads. Drivers between the ages of 79 and 84, for example, have to renew their driver's license in person. Drivers in this age group will have to pay a renewal fee every six years. Once drivers reach the age of 85, they must also renew in person but must pay a renewal fee on their second birthday after the prior date of expiration.
Our Galveston auto accident lawyers know that these senior drivers will be required to submit to a basic vision test that is administered by the customer service representative taking care of them at the DMV. If there are concerns about whether the senior is still fit to drive, then the elderly individual may also be required to submit to a driving test to prove his abilities behind the wheel.
All of these special requirements exist for older drivers as a result of concerns that people are less capable of driving safely when they age. Memory can fail, flexibility can decline, reflexes can slow and cognitive and physical impairments can make it hard to be a good driver. This has created a lot of concern because some experts fear that more auto accidents will occur as a result of more older drivers on the roads.
Do Senior Drivers Really Cause More Texas Auto Accidents?
Although it is true that some seniors may drive while beyond their prime, a recent article indicates that a lot of the concern about the aging driving population is based on myths and misconceptions rather than based on facts.
The article, which appeared on Your West Valley, dispelled the myth that senior drivers are more likely to get into car accidents. To the contrary, in fact, drivers ages 64 to 69 are considered to be the statistically safest drivers on the road. These seniors are unlikely to get into accidents because they tend to drive during safe times, avoid driving at night when accidents most often occur, and avoid dangerous behaviors such as drinking while driving or getting behind the wheel when fatigued.
Seniors are also more likely to embrace new safety laws and to be responsive to changes in safety rules for drivers. Their attitude towards seat belt use is indicative of this trend since many seniors were driving well before seat belts were mandated and yet seniors are more likely than other adult drivers to buckle up. Data indicates, for example, that 77 percent of seniors involved in car wrecks were buckled at the time as compared with just 63 percent of adult drivers between the ages of 18 and 64.
Dispelling the myths about senior drivers is important because people need to understand how senior drivers will impact car accident rates. By 2030, around one out of every five drivers is expected to be aged 65 or older. Knowing that this changing demographic may not cause as many accidents as people feared is a good thing so experts don't have to worry quite so much about what an older population will do to the safety of our roads.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Hagood & Neumann at (800) 632-9404. Offices in Houston and Galveston.