Requiring Drivers older than 80 Reduces Automobile Deaths
A Florida law requiring drivers over 80 years old to have their eyesight tested appears to be reducing the number of automobile fatalites. As noted in a recent issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers have found that the fatality rate for drivers in that age group went down 17 percent after the law was passed, even though the overall rate in Florida rose 6 percent in the same period.
Researcher Gerald McGwin of the University of Alabama at Birmingham is not absolutely certain of the reason. One reason may be that the screening law removed visually impaired drivers from the road. However, McGwin thinks the situation is significantly more complex.
First, fewer than 7 percent of drivers in the state were not allowed to renew their licenses because of poor vision. However, that alone would not explain the drop in fatalities. It may be that elderly drivers did not bother to renew their drivers’ licences because they feared they would not pass the exam, according to researchers. In addition, it may also be that other drivers with poor vision took corrective steps in order to get their licenses.