We’re all familiar with the complicated relationship between older people and their motor vehicles. Many of us even have firsthand experience with an older relative getting into an accident or having a difficult time giving up the keys to the car when it’s no longer safe for them to be driving.
As more Baby Boomers retire and the percentage of older drivers among the population increases, the need to respond to issues of aging and driving grows more urgent. This is certainly the case in Florida, where nearly 20 percent of residents are 65 years of age or older.
Fortunately, Florida law takes the prevalence of older drivers into consideration. For starters, seniors are subjected to stricter licensing requirements. Drivers age 80 and older must renew their license every six years, as opposed to the usual eight, and vision tests are required at the time of renewal or, if conducted by the person’s doctor, within a year of the renewal request. Corrective lenses or hearing aids may also be required while driving.
In addition, older adults may even be required to make modifications to their vehicles that will enable them to drive more safely and comfortably. They may need an additional driver’s side mirror, a seat cushion, hand controls or pedal extensions. The state may also require older drivers to drive automatic transmission vehicles with power steering and mechanical directional signals.
Older drivers can also take certain precautions to decrease the likelihood of an accident. Maintaining good health and vision, driving during the daytime, in good weather and on safe, well-planned routes and with minimal distractions — all of these factors can contribute positively to the safety of older drivers and others with whom they share the road.
If you have questions about how the law applies to older drivers or if you’ve suffered an injury in a serious car accident in Florida, it’s important to consult a skilled Charlotte County injury lawyer with Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.