As the baby boomers get older, more adult children are asking questions about senior licensing and what types of situations warrant the state revoking licensing privileges. Depending on the circumstances of an accident and the age and health of the driver who caused the accident, the court can, in limited cases, revoke license privileges for senior drivers. To get a better idea of if that is a possibility, here are some of the laws Texas uses to govern senior drivers and accidents.
Senior Driving Laws
Any citizen between age 79 and 84 must renew his or her license at the DPS office every six years. Anyone 85 or older needs to do so in person every two years. Drivers who renew their licenses after age 79 must submit to a vision test and medical evaluation, as well. The department will also conduct additional testing and investigate senior drivers at the request of a court, physician, or family member concerned about a senior’s driving habits.
The DPS can refuse to renew a license or restrict the licensing for certain reasons. It can also create conditional licensing to prevent certain drivers from driving on the freeway or to ensure a senior driver has another capable adult in the vehicle, drives only during the day, or does not exceed a certain speed limit. The department can also require that a senior use hearing aids and glasses while driving or vehicles equipped with certain safety implements. Depending on the reason for a license revocation, a senior may have his or her license reinstated at a later time.
Reasons for License Suspension After an Accident
If a senior causes an accident, the court can take a number of actions. It may ask DPS to conduct an investigation into the individual’s driving capabilities. A judge may also have the authority to automatically revoke a license in some situations, including:
- The number of points on a license. If a senior has a certain number of points on his or her license at a time, the court may decide to suspend the license for a certain amount of time.
- Serious accident offenses. Seniors involved in vehicular homicide, running from the police, DUI, or who leave an accident scene may have their licenses suspended by the court.
- Lack of insurance or means to pay accident liability. If a senior doesn’t have insurance and can’t pay for the damages caused in an accident, the court may decide to suspend his or her license.
- Repeat violations. Seniors who have caused accidents before or who have a history of reckless driving may lose their licenses after an accident.
Helping Seniors Stay Safe on the Road
Adult children concerned about their parents or other seniors driving on the road can request a DPS investigation to ensure they aren’t driving recklessly. You may also want to talk with a senior’s doctor to articulate concerns about driving on the road after a certain age. Physicians should discuss medication side effects and how a health condition might affect an individual’s ability to drive safely on the road.
In some situations, you may want to discuss the ramifications of a senior continuing to drive with an attorney. Getting into an accident as a senior could have consequences for the estate, particularly if the senior caused the accident. Sometimes, seeing the potential for adverse consequences will help seniors voluntarily relinquish their driving rights.
Try to drive with seniors when possible to see how their reaction times, decision-making skills, and visibility actually affect driving habits. The moment you notice a difference in driving, consider an honest conversation with him or her. Take additional steps if needed.