How old is too old to drive? 80? 90? 100? If you picked any of these cutoffs, there’s a man in California who might disagree with you. According to Fox 26, the 104-year-old just renewed his license after passing his vision test, and he still drives everywhere.
You have to be at least 16 years old to get a driver’s license in California. There’s a minimum age to drive, but there’s no maximum age. People can keep driving as long as they’re able to do so safely. According to the California DMV, senior drivers have the same licensing standards as younger drivers, although starting at age 70, all license renewals must be done in person. Seniors may be asked to take a Supplemental Driving test if there are concerns about their driving ability.
Senior drivers can be safe drivers.
Some people have a negative view of senior drivers. They’re sometimes depicted as slow, oblivious and downright dangerous. But while some senior drivers may live up to this stereotype, many are incredibly safe.
In fact, if you’re worried about how age impacts driving, you should be focused on young drivers. According to the California DMV, the crash rate for 16-year-olds is 3.7 times higher than it is for drivers of all ages.
Seniors have decades of driving experience under their belts, and it shows.
What about health conditions?
While age brings experience, it can also come with physical and mental health problems. Seniors may suffer from vision problems, hearing problems, worsening reflexes and various other conditions that negatively impact their driving ability.
Health conditions can also make seniors especially susceptible to injuries. A robust teen might have no problem recovering from a crash that could be devastating for an older driver. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal crash rates start to increase around age 70 for this reason.
Medications, both prescription and over the counter, can cause additional problems. The California DMV warns that medications taken by seniors can cause sleepiness, blurred vision and other side effects that impact driving ability. The more medications a senior is taking, the greater the risk for dangerous complications. Seniors should talk to their doctors to determine whether it’s still safe to drive.
How does age impact insurance rates?
Some senior drivers see an increase in car insurance rates. However, rates are based on a number of factors, including how much a person drives and how clean their record is.
Seniors can keep their rates low by proving that they’re safe drivers. The best way to do this is to avoid crashes and tickets. They can also take driving classes designed just for them to show that they’ve brushed up on their skills.
Resources for senior drivers.