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The Graying of our Highways

July 11th, 2008 by flanews

Florida’s driving population is getting older. By the year 2025, one in four drivers will be over the age of 65. As Whitney Ray tells us, AAA says the state’s not prepared to handle more senior drivers.

Hear it Here: AAA: Florida Should Prepare for Baby Boomer Drivers Getting Older

Sharon Moses just turned 65. She’s still driving but knows someday she may have to hang up her keys.

“I can remember my mother when she was still driving at 82 and it scared me to death and we finally had to take the car keys away from her,” says Moses.

Florida’s senior population is growing. About one in seven drivers is over the age of 65 but they’re responsible for about 15 percent of all fatal accidents.

By the year 2025, one in four drivers will be over the age of 65. The state may not be prepared for a major increase in older drivers. AAA says the state needs to test the mobility of everyone seeking a driver’s license.

“Mobility means your reflexes, your eyesight, your hearing, and so forth. Do you have any disabilities that could impair your driving,” said Brenda Smith, AAA Assistant Division Manager.

In Florida people can renew their driver’s license through the mail until they turn 80, after that a vision test is required for renewal. Not all seniors are against more testing.

“If it can be addressed as a safety measure only, I’m for it,” said senior driver Charles Menard.

The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles is looking at the possibility.

“There are cognitive issues that sometimes can become involved with our aging population and we are piloting some test looking at that,” said Selma Sauls with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If more seniors have to hang up their keys, AAA says they’ll face another problem, inadequate public transportation. Seniors in Florida are involved in fewer wrecks than teenage drivers, but they tend to have deadlier accidents because of their age and health issues.

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