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Licensing Restrictions for Senior Drivers in Minnesota
If you’re a Minnesota driver over the age of 65 or have a loved one over the age of 65, you should know that the rules for license renewals and restrictions could be changing very soon.
Currently, 28 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia have laws shortening the length of time between renewals and/or additional requirements for license renewal for older drivers. At this time, Minnesota driver’s license renewal is every four years and imposes no additional requirements or shortened time periods for license renewal for the elderly. This is because Minnesota law specifies that age alone is not a justification for reexamination.
But that could all be changing with an announcement made this summer by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that proposes a national guideline for older driver safety. If this proposal were finalized, it would push all 50 states to become more consistent with their senior driving regulations.
NHTSA Proposed Elderly Driver Recommendations Include:
A program to improve older driver safety
Physician protection from lawsuits for reporting possibly unsafe drivers
In-person license renewals after a certain age
Why the Push to Restrict Older Drivers
The issue attracted renewed interest this summer, when a 100-year-old driver in Los Angeles backed over a group of schoolchildren. Though stories like this one are not commonplace at this point, the concern is that, with the large number of baby boomers nearing ages when deterioration in skills, eyesight and reaction times are at their height, the risk for incidences like this could climb significantly in the near future. This is why the NHTSA is proposing that states begin to take steps to address “the real and growing problem of older driver safety.”
What to Do if You Suspect Unsafe Driving
Whether you’re a driver concerned with your own cognitive changes and reaction times or you’re worried about an aging driver in your family, it’s important to know the signs of unsafe driving and to take precautions to help yourself or your loved one stay safe on Minnesota’s roadways.
Signs of unsafe driving include:
Getting lost in familiar areas and roads
Failure to obey traffic rules
Slowed reaction times
Loss of perception or compromised visual acuity when it comes to spotting other vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians
An increase in traffic accidents, tickets and near-misses
If you believe your or a loved ones’ driving skills are being compromised, please bring up your concerns with your loved one or a trusted physician, to check for health issues and to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
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