Ohio Mature Driving Laws
28 states have some sort of special renewal process for seniors, but the laws that Ohio imposes are for all drivers, not just mature drivers. All drivers must renew their license every four years in person at the BMV where all drivers must also pass a vision exam.
Drivers aged 65 to 100 make up about 19 percent of all licensed drivers in the state, but they caused 7.9 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in 2014. By 2040, about 20 percent of the population (1 in 5 residents) will be aged 65 or older. Yet, despite the increase in senior drivers, the number of accidents they are involved in has fallen over the past ten years.
Still, there may come a time when you or a friend or family member may question your safety on the road.
When to Be Concerned
First, being concerned over your skills doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be driving. It means you need to do something proactive to improve your skills like taking a driver training course designed specifically for mature drivers. Also, talk to your physician to make sure that any conditions you have and the medication used to treat them aren’t interfering with your ability, focus, or mental clarity.
You should consider taking a driving course if:
- You’ve gotten two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past 24 months
- You have been involved in two or more collisions, fender benders, or near misses in the last 24 months
Be aware that rear end accidents, fender benders, and side collisions while turning across traffic are some of the most common accident types for mature drivers whose skill, depth perception, or reaction time is diminishing, changing, and slowing, respectively.
If you feel like you need someone to travel with you, even if you are only going on a short trip or familiar route, you are probably unsure about your ability and skills. Other things might also be happening that are making you doubt that you should still be driving. This may include:
- Missing traffic signals and signs
- Weaving between lanes or straddling lines
- Getting negative reactions from other drivers like gestures and honking
- Getting lost on familiar routes
- Difficulty seeing the sides of the road when looking forward
- Trouble judging traffic flow when using exit and entrance ramps and intersections
- Frequently scraping and denting the vehicle, mailbox, curbs, garage/doors, etc.
All of these issues will make you doubt yourself which can make you even more nervous or anxious. Taking a senior driving course and having your skills assessed by a professional can restore your faith in yourself, and help you adjust your driving habits to stay safe. Some of these adjustments can be as simple as changing your shopping and traveling times to when traffic is light, and parking lots are less busy.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol, your local sheriff’s office or your local Area Agency on Aging will be able to give you information about defensive driving courses for seniors in your area.