In February 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its 2015 data regarding “older” drivers. The NHTSA defined “older” as individuals who had reached the age of 65 years or older. According to the information provided by the NHTSA, 6,165 older people were killed, and 240,000 older people were injured in 2015 in traffic related accidents. This represented an eight percent increase from the previous year. Older drivers made up 18 percent of the drivers in 2015, an increase of 15 percent from 2014.
The fatalities in crashes involving drivers who are 65 years of age or older increased from 6,052 in 2014 to 6,608 in 2015. In California, older drivers accounted for 10 percent of the fatal car crashes (438) that occurred during 2015. California had the third highest number of fatalities involving older drivers that year, Florida (581) was first, and Texas (496) was second.
Most states, including California, have acknowledged the special circumstances faced by older drivers. To help reduce the risk of senior driving accidents, California has instituted certain regulations and restrictions for mature drivers in our state.
California Senior Driving Laws
Drivers 70 years of age or older must appear in person to renew their driver’s license. When you appear at the DMV, you are required to pass both a knowledge and vision test. Younger drivers may qualify to renew their driver’s license online. Senior drivers can take practice tests at the DMV’s website. The DMV may use a wall chart or a vision testing machine to test your vision. If you do not meet the vision standard of 20/40, you must visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist for evaluation.
Drivers of any age, including senior drivers, can be subject to a reexamination to ensure they are capable of safely operating a vehicle. The DMV may base a reexamination request on several factors including information received from a medical provider, EMS personnel, family members, law enforcement officers, a DMV employee, your driving record, or you. Based on the results of the reexamination, the DMV could take no action, place you on medical probation, issue a limited term license, schedule regular reexaminations, place restrictions on your driving privileges, suspend driving privileges, or revoke your driving privileges.
Examples of restrictions you may receive after a reexamination include:
- No freeway driving
- Restrictions on the time of day you may drive
- Install additional mirrors on your vehicle
- No nighttime driving
- Area restrictions
- Requirement to wear corrective lenses
The restrictions are designed to ensure you remain safe when you drive and reduce the risk of a traffic accident.
The above information is a brief summary of some of the additional regulations that apply to senior drivers in California. For more information, we urge you to read the DMV’s Senior Guide for Safe Driving, available online from the DMV.
Call a Fresno Accident Attorney for Help
A driver of any age can be injured in a traffic accident. It is important to seek medical treatment and legal advice following a car accident. If you have been injured in an accident, we urge you to call our office for a free legal consultation.
Contact Torem & Associates by telephone at 1-800-954-4444 or online by using the contact form on our website.