As a general rule, no one likes to be treated differently than other people. In fact, treating all people fairly and equally is a core pillar of America’s legal philosophy. Accordingly, our federal and state constitutions, along with many legislative enactments, provide fundamental protections to the citizens of our country.
However, when it comes to public safety, there are times when the government must do its best to keep us all as safe as possible, even when it may inconvenience or offend some drivers. And that brings us to the topic of this blog – are driving laws in Oregon different or the same for older drivers?
Are Older Drivers More Dangerous Than Other Drivers?
This question is hard to answer in absolute terms because the answer depends in part on who is considered “older” and to what group of drivers the older group is being compared. However, in general, both young and old drivers appear to be more dangerous than those of ages between them. Young drivers cause more accidents, but older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured.
Regardless of statistics, certain physical and mental problems are more likely to occur in older drivers. While some older drivers age without encountering limitations, Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services explains that, for some drivers, the following concerns may arise:
- Motor Function – a driver’s muscles may become weaker, have less flexibility, and have a shorter endurance span as they age. These declines can adversely affect a driver’s ability to control a motor vehicle, especially in an emergency.
- Eyesight – it is probably not surprising to anyone that vision often declines with age. Not only can it become harder to see what is happening, but an older driver’s eyes can take longer to adjust after being blinded by headlights.
- Cognition – this term covers many mental processes, such as perception, thought, and problem-solving, just to name a few. Obviously, if a driver experiences a decrease in cognition, it can lead to dangers while trying to drive.
How Has Oregon Addressed the Issue?
Oregon has created some sensible precautions to address the issue. Drivers over 50 must renew their licenses in person every eight years. An eye test is mandatory, and state personnel may require a written or driving test. Additionally, DMV can restrict a person’s driver’s license. An example would be the prohibition of nighttime driving.
Additionally, Oregon has a reasonably unique At-Risk Driver Program. Technically, the program does not apply solely to older drivers. Rather, it applies to any driver 14 years or older. Under the program, family, friends, law enforcement personnel, and others can submit a report to DMV if it is believed a driver “is unable to perform basic driving tasks safely and responsibly.”
Additionally, doctors must report drivers who may be unable to drive due to “severe and uncontrollable” impairments from a medical condition.
After receiving a report, it is screened against legal requirements to determine if it should be accepted or rejected. If accepted, it can result in an immediate driver’s license suspension in extreme circumstances, or in the alternative, lead to further evaluation of the reported driver.
Call with Questions
Remember, regardless of the driver’s age in an automobile accident, fault determines liability. Please call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield to schedule a free consultation, and we will answer any questions you may have regarding an auto accident personal injury case. We believe that it is crucial to hold everyone accountable for the harm they cause so that all of society will be made safer.