A House bill that require
seniors to renew their driver's licenses earlier and more often moves forward
in the General Assembly.
A Virginia father who lost
his son in horrible crash helped to shape this legislation.
This bill would require anyone
age 75 to appear in person at DMV to renew their driver's license. Right now
the age is 80.
Also driver's licenses are
typically issued for eight years. This measure would require anyone 75 or older
to renew their license every five years.
Supporters say the measure
is not about targeting seniors but making our roads safer for everyone.
This week, an elderly
woman in Florida accidentally backs into a crowd leaving church and kills
three. In May, a chesterfield senior hits the gas instead of the brakes and
plows into a building. And last year an elderly driver makes a wrong turn
plunging into the James River. All tragic accidents that could have possibly
Dave Morrell's 32-year-old
son Darren, a newlywed full of hopes and dreams, was tragically hit and killed
by a senior driver in Oakton in 2011.
“It occurred when an
85 year old individual pulled out of a small commercial area making a left-hand
turn without looking.”
The 85-year-old never even
knew he hit Darren.
“In fact pedestrians alongside
the road had to stop him. So it begged
the question how was he still driving.”
Wanting to prevent
something like this from happening to another family, Morrell pressed for House
Bill 771, the Mature Driving Bill, which requires seniors renew their licenses
earlier, in person and more often.
While critics argues it's
taking a seniors' impendence away it has wide support from AARP, Drivesmart Virginia
and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.
“The bill we think is
very reasonable,” says Dana Schrad, Executive Director VA Association of Police
Chiefs. “It just requires you to go a little bit more frequently and get your
eyes checked and that is something that should be a public safety concern for
all of us.”
The bill has passed the House.
It heads to the Senate on February 12.
To read the full bill,
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