Rhode Island sought to raise age to 75 for two-year license renewals

| 5/1/2008

A failed effort in the Rhode Island Senate called for giving older drivers in the state another five years before being required to renew their driver’s licenses every two years.

Sponsored by Sen. James Doyle, D-Pawtucket, the measure – SB2022 – missed a deadline to advance from committee, effectively killing it for the year.

The bill sought to stop the practice of requiring those 70 and older to renew their driver’s licenses, including CDLs, every two years. Younger drivers’ licenses only have to be renewed every five years. The two-year requirement would have been pushed to age 75 if lawmakers had OK’d the bill.

State law already allows the division of motor vehicles to require an examination of any license renewal applicant considered incompetent or otherwise unqualified to continue driving. Fees are $8 per renewal every two years.

The bill would have required drivers to pay $30 for a five-year renewal at age 70 – the same fee all license holders in the state pay for a five-year renewal.

While the bill remained active, Doyle referenced figures from the Federal Highway Administration that show little difference in certain statistics, such as highway fatalities, for those drivers age 70 to 74 as compared to those age 65 to 69. It is above age 75 that those numbers begin to grow significantly.

The effort can be brought back for consideration during the 2009 regular session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Rhode Island, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor