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Controversial Elderly Driver Testing Bill Endorsed


A controversial bill that would require Massachusetts drivers age 75 and older to pass an exam, every 5 years, at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, when they renew their Mass. Driver’s Licenses. The bill also gives police officers and physicians immunity from lawsuits when they notify the Mass. RMV about drivers, of any age, who they believe are not safe to drive.

Senior Citizens’ advocates claim that the bill is discriminatory and it unfairly targets the elderly. As evidence of this, they point to accidents, drunk driving, reckless operation, and other incidents which often involve younger drivers.

Any driver who has his or her license suspended under this proposed law would have the ability to appeal the suspension to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and assumedly the Board of Appeal.

In addition to physical and cognitive testing for drivers, beginning at age 75, the proposed bill also requires the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles administer driving tests to anyone who accumulates 3 or more surchargable events in one year. Under the current law, a driving class is required for 5 surchargable events in 3 years and drivers with 7 surchargable events in 3 years will have their licenses suspended for 60 days, during which time it may be possible to get a hardship license, even though the RMV says otherwise.

The bill has come out Committee and will now go to the full legislature.

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