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Elderly motorists pose a risk to Texas drivers

When people think about potential hazards that affect drivers on the road, elderly drivers in Texas may not be the first issue that comes to mind. However, as the generation of baby boomers ages, the dangers of elderly driving becomes a serious problem that may need to be given further attention. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that 33 states in the nation have specific legislation focused on elderly drivers. Older drivers in Texas can renew their driver’s licenses every six years until they reach the age of 85-years-old. At that time they must renew every two years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several factors that may affect drivers as they age. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  •          Decreased ability to remember certain rules of the road or how to perform certain tasks.
  •          Slowed responses to hazards, such as bad weather conditions, objects in the road, pedestrians or other drivers’ behavior.
  •          Loss of motor control.

Studies conducted by the American Optometric Association also show that drivers over the age of 60 experience in decline in vision and the ability to accommodate, or focus on an object. There is also a greater occurrence of certain age-related eye disorders, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and glaucoma. These conditions make it difficult for older drivers to read road signs, judge the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles, adapt to bright light or low light conditions or see what is going on in their peripheral vision. 

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