Older drivers may have to pass tougher driving standards

If it were up to some state lawmakers, drivers over the age of 65 would have tougher standards when it comes to getting behind the wheel and drivers over 85 would have to take a road test.

Most will tell you, wisdom comes with age, but when it comes to driving, age may end up working against you.

A proposed bill may tighten the standards on elderly drivers. Current standards require drivers 54 years-and-under to renew their license every eight years. Drivers 54-and-up are required to renew their license every five years.

The proposed bill tightens standards for drivers over age 65, requiring them to renew more frequently. People over 85 would have to once again hop behind the wheel for a road test.

For feedback on the issue, what better place to go to than lunch time at the Southport Senior Center?

“I don’t have any problems with the older drivers because I’m that guy,” said Herman Floyd who is still driving at age 79.

But not all elderly drivers think a refresher-driving test would be a bad idea.

“I think most people when we get older we are cautious, but some of us don’t have the reflexes we use to have. My feeling is that we should be tested to see whether we are up to standard or not,” said 71-year-old Rudolph Litke.

Bobby Schupp is a driving instructor at Cape Fear Community College. He said many times it’s younger drivers who may need tougher standards, especially because drivers between 16 and 25 are responsible for 30 percent of car crashes.

“I hear people make comments about older drivers and they are slow and they do this and they do that,” said Schupp. “My response to them is, they may be slow but how do you suppose they got to become an older driver?”

The bill is still at the House level waiting for approval by a transportation committee. It still needs to make its way through the full House, and the Senate.

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