Volume 3, Issue 2

Jennifer L. Klein

For many elderly people, the ability to drive provides not only a means of transportation, but also a sense of independence. Unfortunately, as the percentage of elderly drivers increases, so too does the number of accidents involving elderly drivers. In her note, Ms. Jennifer Klein analyzes the current status of licensing renewal procedures for elderly drivers and the need for procedures more focused on the elderly. After noting variations among the states, Ms. Klein focuses on the Illinois driver’s license renewal statute, the most rigid of its kind. Next, Ms. Klein examines other approaches such as counseling, restricted licenses, and anonymous reporting. Before any kind of safeguards can be adapted to confront the problem of elderly drivers, Ms. Klein recognizes two potential roadblocks: political support and constitutional protections. However, Ms, Klein demonstrates that these obstacles can be overcome by implementing procedures to insure that only incompetent drivers remain off the road. Driver’s license renewal procedures should be ability-focused, not age-focused. To protect elderly drivers, Ms. Klein concludes by recommending that states initially pattern their driver’s license renewal statutes after the Illinois model. Next, states should implement legislation to insure that further research is instigated to promote safer road conditions for all drivers. Finally, Ms. Klein urges states to consider using technology to develop simulation and sensory perception tests that more accurately gauge elderly driving ability.