Massachusetts lawmakers are caught up on deciding whether to approve or not to approve a bill that will make it mandatory for Massachusetts drivers who are aged 75 and above to pass physical and cognitive examinations each time they wish to renew their driver’s license and policy papers.
According to reports, State legislators are yet to decide whether to ratify the said bill or not. Legislation on the bill gained momentum during summer where an increase in the number of vehicle accidents involving elderly motorists soared. However, for the past weeks, the bill has been stalled and is waiting for another round of debates by lawmakers. Reporters from Massachusetts legislative office claim that when lawmakers ended their official session last Wednesday, the bill was left stuck in the committee, still pending for decisions and debate reschedule.
House Transportation Chairman Representative, Joseph Wagner, said in an interview that the bill needs to remove its focus on elderly drivers and should simply focus on having a physical and cognitive testing requirement regardless of the driver’s age. It can be noted that it was Wagner who voted and lobbied to recommend this bill. Now, House Transportation Chairman Wagner wants the state to simply focus on getting rid of unfit motorists altogether. According to him, unfit drivers come in all ages, and there are cases when an elderly driver is better fit to drive than a 25 year old.
On the other hand, legislators who support this bill claim that there is strong evidence that the capacity to drive safely becomes less as age goes up. According to bill supporters, coming up with a bill that does not limit coverage of the testing requirement can be very unrealistic and difficult to implement, and that there must be a way to limit the requirement by basing it on age.
While lawmakers still debate on whether this bill should be ratified, elderly motorists are worried that if the bill gets approved, some of them may have to say goodbye to their cars. Reports say that some elderly drivers are afraid that they will fail the physical and cognitive examinations and will not be able to drive anymore.
From the side of insurance providers, passing this bill is good news. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute show that majority of the policy claims filed are for car accidents involving drivers who are aged 70 and up. For them, cutting back on the number of unfit elderly drivers can help reduce the number of car accidents.