NH Rep. Trying To Get Rid Of State Test For Elderly Drivers

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — New Hampshire State Representative Robert Williams is 84 years old, and he is not a big fan of mandatory road tests for seniors.

“It’s very discriminatory,” explains the Concord Democrat. “Also, it’s totally ineffective. It’s just not needed, and it puts seniors through a terrible experience.”

Age alone, Willams says, is not reason enough to deny someone a driver’s license renewal. That’s why he’s sponsoring a bill to do away with the Granite State’s requirement that every driver over the age of 75 prove they are physically and mentally qualified to keep their license.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

He’s been at it for years, but this session, the idea seems to have some traction. His bill just passed the transportation committee on a unanimous vote. It’s expected to sail through the N.H. House next week; Williams is optimistic for its chance in the senate.

“There are better ways,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be done on chronological age.”

Instead of the age-based requirement, Williams favors a medical review board that could deny a driver’s license renewal based on the recommendations of family members or doctors. Massachusetts has a similar mechanism to keep people with medical or cognitive impairments off the road.

Williams says seniors will be less upset to lose their licenses for a medical reason rather than just because they’re seniors.

  • Carol Krim

    In England, France and Belgium, it has been mandatory to test drivers over the age of 75 for more than 30 years. Only Americans are more concerned with driving forever than they are about the safety of the roads and other drivers.

  • Tricia Fitzgerald Walden

    Driving is a privilege not a right . If retirement is set at a certain age because of your age so should your driving ability. To prove you still have the motor skills to drive a vehicle , taking the test should be mandatory for the welfare of the public .

    • Cynic

      Will you get off the privilege/right argument…. It’s a Necessity. In order to be realistic and effective they would have to be teated EVERY DAY.
      I know many people that are terminally stupid at 35 years old.

  • M.L.

    Remember last summer when there was a rash of accidents caused by elderly drivers? For example, the same woman running into buildings in Walpole twice in one week? I for one support mandatory testing. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege may be taken away for many reasons. Reduced eyesight or reflexes is a valid reason for not being allowed to drive.

  • emom

    Hey I have a huge question,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, to anyone that feels the need to say IT’S ,MY RIGHT TO DO WHAT I WANT AND NOBODY SHOULD BE ABLE TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN OR CANT DO………..DO YOU WANT TO LIVE, OR DIE, OH WAIT thats the motto for up there ,, never mind I guess life is merely a suggestion and not valued as worthy.. YEAH tell that to your family , your kids when they stand over your body and lower you into the ground, all because you had some senseless accident that took your life, or how about when they have to visit you in jail after you killed someone….. yeah any age its bad , but if you have less and less of a normal reflects then its time to hang up the keys and stiop driving just more examples of selfish folks not caring about the rest of us. just like all the stupid drunks

  • shotime

    If an elderly person is competent in their driving skills, then what’s the big worry? Quite possibly because many won’t pass!

  • Andrew

    The probability of a person losing certain motor skills and eyesight increases with age. I don’t see an issue with testing people of a certain age to be able to operate a vehicle. If they pass, hey congratulations maybe we won’t have to test you again for a while. I had to take an eyesight test to get my license renewed too, what’s the difference?

  • massman

    No two ways about it. Getting old sucks.

  • AnnMarie

    i think he nuts keep they should keep the mandortory driveing for senors
    i no some day i be that age also if i cant drive and i am over 80 yes i give up my license. i see lost of semors in NH and Mass that should not be driving.
    you dont no Mr willims may be dew to renew his License
    and dont like to take the road test you dont no mabey.

  • DStein

    Is Rep. Robert Williams serious when he say taking a driver’s test is a terrible experience? If the seniors have the skills, why is so much more terrible for them than anyone else taking the test?

    Keep testing the elderly. I certainly want to know when it’s time to hang up the keys.

    My elderly father had an accident where he couldn’t even remember what heppened. He just blacked out behind the wheel. Fortunately he didn’t hit anyone else and his injuries were minor despite the car being totalled. I begged the New Hampshire Dept. of Safety and his doctor to take his license away. They wouldn’t because the doctor couldn’t say for sure why he blacked out and, wihtout a medical reason, they wouldn’t suspend his license. Like blacking out isn’t reason enough. Luckily my siblings and I were able to convince him not to replace his car and we took him wherever he needed to go after that.

    • Cynic

      It is a terrible experience becausethe are being singled out because of their age.

  • Mark

    I see plenty of 20, 30, 40, 50, & 60 year olds that can’t drive either. We should test everyone for driving ability regularly.

  • Fatty_Arbuckle

    Typical NH hey guys get out of the passing lane there is a huge parade of cars behind you!

  • Cynic

    I have typed the same comment over and over…there is NOTHING offensive about it… Why isn’t it being printed?

  • Curtis

    If the driver has had a poor record during there last renewal period then they should be tested if not( good record) then the road test should NOT be required

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