BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) -Following a crash at a bank in Manatee County on Tuesday afternoon, many viewers reached out asking about if there were any age restrictions for Florida drivers, the short answer is no.
ABC7 spoke to experts who say we should focus less about age and focus more on whether someone is healthy and coherent enough to be behind the wheel.
“We’re concerned about this very issue. But we also think it’s unfair to say that it’s age alone that is an indicator of why you should be or not be behind a wheel,” said FL AARP Commutations Manager, Dave Bruns.
Bruns says there are an “army” of older drivers in the Sunshine state. Statistics from AARP show there are currently 825,000 drivers aged 80 or older and 112,000 drivers 90 years old or older.
“It’s not so much age. It’s really about health conditions,” said Bruns.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kenn Watson agrees.
“No one ages exactly the same. So, if there is an issue and you feel that someone no longer has the capability to drive, let your local law enforcement know. That way we can get in touch with and proper testing can be done,” said Watson.
Under Florida law everyone is required to renew their license every 8 years. Once you’re 80 or older, attorneys say it switches to every 6 years with an added eye exam.
“Additional restrictions could include hand controls on the steering wheel, it could include an additional left side mirror, restrictions that don’t allow the driver to drive at night,” said Jodat law firm Injury attorney, Jonathan Diamond.
Age isn’t one of those restrictions but Diamond and Bruns say it has been talked about in Tallahassee. Attorneys say there could be more done by the legislature can do to step up the requirements for older drivers.
“There’s a lot that can happen in six years and so the requirements for vision at least (regarding) whether or not it’s time to renew. They should be required to submit a vision test at least every two years, at least, maybe more,” said Diamond.
AARP says they don’t take a stance every time the legislature brings it up but they try to focus on making communities across the state more accessible for senior citizens that can’t or are unable to drive.
Diamond says if someone is concerned about a family member or someone they’re caring for that may be older and driving, then they can take this fitness -to-drive screening measure.