Concerns Do Older Drivers Raise?

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), the number of drivers over the age of 70 in the state will double in seven years and triple in 15 years. Although younger drivers are involved in more crashes, MVA statistics show that the proportion of drivers at fault increases sharply after the age of 55. In fact, drivers who are 80 or older are just as likely to be at fault as a teenage driver.

Unfortunately, the question of the fitness of older drivers recently came to the forefront in Maryland following the death of a 20-year-old cyclist killed by an 83-year-old driver who did not see him in the bicycle lane.

In a recent editorial, the Baltimore Sun found that Maryland has done a lot to address teenage drivers but that it has done very little to regulate older drivers. The editorial noted that a senior driver can be referred to the MVA’s medical advisory board but that it often does not happen until the driver has been involved in an auto accident or a family member questions the driver’s abilities.

The editorial pointed out that other states — including Illinois, Iowa and Hawaii — have shortened the renewal period for older drivers. The shorter renewal period gives states the chance to screen applicants for potential safety issues. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommended this type of policy to the states, including Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun pointed out that Maryland has extended the license renewal period from five to eight years for all drivers. Because a driver must go to an MVA office only every other renewal, the editorial found that a 70-year-old driver renewing a license does not have to go back to the MVA until the driver is 86 years old.

The editorial observed that the General Assembly is unlikely to take any action until the MVA’s study on older drivers is completed next year. The editorial concluded that the General Assembly’s inaction may put younger drivers in danger.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Maryland car accident due to a negligent driver, young or old, contact the car accident attorneys in Baltimore at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. to see how you can get the compensation you deserve.