Age as a Factor in Car Accidents & Texas Driver License Renewal Requirements

While teenage drivers still lead the pack in causing road accidents, older drivers are also significantly risky drivers, with the risk increasing with age.

Older drivers are more prone to fatal injuries due to frail bodies. According to statistics, drivers aged 85 are over nine times more likely to die in an accident than drivers aged 25 to 69.

Age Comes With Limitations

Studies show drivers over 75 are more likely to get ticketed for minor traffic violations, such as failing to yield to passengers, stopping at a flashing red light, and backing up unsafely.

Old age comes with physical and cognitive decline, which can significantly affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Conditions that affect a person’s cognitive ability, such as dementia, begin around age 60, making being on the road a risk to themselves and other road users.

Older persons are also more likely to have problems with their sight. If their eyes are not regularly checked, it could mean they will be at a high risk of getting into an accident.

Texas License Requirements for Older Adults

While Texas has no upper age limit for drivers, license renewal laws for older drivers differ from those for younger drivers. Under Texan law, drivers aged between 18 and 84 must renew their driver’s license every six years. Younger drivers can renew their licenses online, by mail, or by fax.

After the age of 79, a driver can only renew their license in person. After a driver hits 85, the renewal period is two years. The reasoning behind having drivers above 79 renew their licenses in person is to have the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) evaluate their ability to operate a car safely.

First, the driver will have to take a driving test. If the evaluator feels you are not fit to drive a car, the driver may be required to undergo a medical examination. If a medical examiner deems an older adult unfit to drive, their license application can be denied.

The DPS Reserves the Right To Allow or Deny an Application

“If your loved one is suffering from a medical condition that would make it unsafe for them to be on the road, it is best to help them receive a medical examination to ensure they are fit to drive. Not just for their safety but also the safety of others,” says attorney Dan Christensen of DC Law. If they are in good health, there is no problem with renewing their license. But taking a refresher driving course would be wise to ensure they pass the driving test.

Besides the driving test, the applicant will be required to take an eye test. Suppose a driver’s vision is less than 20/40 without correction and 20/70 with correction. In that case, the DPS will require that the applicants be examined by an independent eye specialist, who will then fill out a form the agency uses to determine if they will reinstate or deny a license application based on their vision.

In some situations, DPS may allow license renewal but impose some restrictions on the license holder. Common restrictions include prohibiting nighttime driving, driving in specific places, for example, freeways, and how far from home an older person can drive.

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