Texas law focusing on elderly drivers takes effect Sept. 1

| 8/23/2007

A new law in Texas will put elderly drivers under increased scrutiny.

Beginning Sept. 1, when drivers turn 79 they will be required to appear in person to renew their personal or commercial driver’s licenses. The licenses will be valid for six years – the same as current law allows.

Affected drivers will be subject to mandatory vision tests. Behind-the-wheel exams will be required on a case-by-case basis if officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety have any questions about applicants’ driving ability.

The new law also requires drivers to renew their licenses every two years after they turn 85. Renewal fees will be $8 for personal driver’s licenses and $25 for CDLs.

Figures from the Department of Public Safety indicate there are nearly 158,000 licensed drivers ages 85 to 90 in Texas. About 42,000 drivers are older.

Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law this spring. Opponents said it is unfair to focus solely on older drivers. Supporters point to studies by insurance companies that show some seniors 80 and older can become high-risk drivers. Sight and responsiveness are cited for the deterioration in driving ability.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Texas in 2007, click here.