Do you have an older loved one who still insists on getting behind the wheel? You are not alone. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, there are concerns about a large population of elderly drivers on the road. While it is true that as we age, our reaction times and physical ability to feel speed slows down, it doesn’t mean that aging must automatically mean giving up the car keys. However, there are some things to keep in mind for the older driver, both now and as they age.
There are no laws limiting a person’s ability to drive due to old age.
Once someone earns the privilege of driving, they won’t lose it unless there’s a specific reason to take it away. So long as a senior has a good driving record, is in good health and has good vision (corrected or uncorrected), there are no legal barriers to driving. Many states, however, require drivers to renew their licenses more often. This may also mean retaking a vision or health test more often.
In California, drivers who are 70 years of age or older at the time their current driver’s license expires are generally required to renew their license in person at the DMV, pass a vision test and, in certain situations, take a written exam.
Car insurance rates go up the older a driver gets.
As drivers enter their later years, their car insurance rates may go up, as drivers past retirement age are more prone to accidents, both fatal and non-fatal. The risk, however, is a lot lower than with younger, inexperienced drivers, at least until one’s mid-80’s. For drivers over 55, taking driver safety courses can lower insurance rates. However, for those on a fixed income, the higher rates could be prohibitively expensive and effectively keep a driver from driving.
However, an insurance company can’t simply charge an older driver an exorbitant amount of money for no reason, and not all insurance companies consider old age to be an impairment. Loyalty to an insurance company may reduce rates for long-time customers, but it’s worth it to shop around.
Watch out for car insurance scammers and younger drivers.
Older drivers may be more prone to car insurance scams, such as planned auto accidents, in order to bilk drivers out of insurance payments or to induce them to pay out-of-court. Even if an older driver is afraid of losing their license or going to court, it’s better to file a police report and have an attorney handle the case.
Young, inexperienced drivers may drive lack patience with older drivers or may rattle other drivers by driving recklessly. Pull over and let them pass or report them to the police.
If you’re concerned about driving in your old age – or losing your ability to drive – an Encino elder law attorney can help you. We work on behalf of older Americans to ensure their rights are preserved. If you need assistance, simply contact our office at (818) 905-6088 to schedule a consultation.