Florida driving license renewals for the elderly

Old Jul 26, 07, 9:39 am
  #1  
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Florida driving license renewals for the elderly

I was thinking about placing this in Omni, but decided that it is definitely a safety issue -- and could possibly impact anyone who lives in, or visits, Florida.

My mother recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Shortly before then, she went to the Florida motor vehicle office and renewed her license for another 6years. No physical examination, or even eye test, was required.

If she is alive 6 years from now, she will be able to renew on line -- in fact, she can do so twice, meaning that for the next 18 years (until she is 108 years old) nobody from the MVD will even see her, much less check her.

Two days ago, she passed out. Fortunately, she was not behind the wheel when it happened but in her kitchen. When she regained consciousness she didn't remember anything about how it happened.

She is now in the hospital for two days of tests and observations. To date, they have not discovered any reason and plan to release her tomorrow.

I just spoke with her and she swore to me that she will not drive again unless her own doctor tells her that there is no chance of a repeat incident while she is in the car.

My father, who died a few years ago, kept his driving license until he passed away -- even though he was legally blind for the last few years of his life. (No, he did not drive, but he was allowed to do so.)

How can Florida possibly justify automatic renewals of licenses for people of such advanced age?
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Old Jul 26, 07, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post

How can Florida possibly justify automatic renewals of licenses for people of such advanced age?
Politics, pure and simple. Older people make up a huge voting block, they think they are as perfect and indestructible as teens, kill more than teens, and still the politicians are afraid of them.

There is actually a simple machine available to test seniors and everyone else for that matter. Driving, and not killing people, is about reaction time and how one reacts. Small driving simulators measure response time of situations like kids running out in the street in front of a car, and determine how well someone responds to various situations. You can make the standards fixed and equally applied. Reaction time over .5 seconds, or whatever, no license. Period.

As long as older people insist they are entitled to their "freedom", people will keep getting killed.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 10:03 am
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In my case, I am in Florida for a week selling my house... I decided to renew my license yesterday morning online. I was denied and told I needed to go to the local HSMV office, so I went. I was made to take a vision exam and a signs test because I got a speeding ticket 34 months ago (although prior and post I've had a perfect driving record). For the record, I am perfectly healthy, in my mid 20's, and have corrected 20/20 vision (20/40 uncorrected which is the cutoff in florida for not having a restriction on your license).

I guess they don't want to risk the bad press if an elderly person should die while they spend 3+ hours waiting in line. (I was able to at least escape and get a sandwich)
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Old Jul 26, 07, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
......Older people make up a huge voting block..........
yup and to use an old joke....

sadie: i have a new boyfriend
sophie: really? who?
sadie: irving isawimp
sophie: irving isawimp? that zhlubb. he's short, fat, bald, cheap and his laugh sounds like a horse.
sadie: yes, but he drives at night!

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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Old Jul 26, 07, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
My mother recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Shortly before then, she went to the Florida motor vehicle office and renewed her license for another 6years. No physical examination, or even eye test, was required.

If she is alive 6 years from now, she will be able to renew on line -- in fact, she can do so twice, meaning that for the next 18 years (until she is 108 years old) nobody from the MVD will even see her, much less check her.

My father, who died a few years ago, kept his driving license until he passed away -- even though he was legally blind for the last few years of his life. (No, he did not drive, but he was allowed to do so.)
That explains quite a few things I've seen while driving in Florida!
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Old Jul 26, 07, 2:14 pm
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Even better....I've been renewing my drivers license either through the mail or online since 1988. My license is the original non-digitized type, and every 6 years I get a new blue renewal sticker to put on the back. I just remove the lamination, attach the sticker and take it back to Office Depot to get laminated again.

It's a huge boost for my ego, considering my photo is now 19 years old and so far only one person (Canadian immigration) asked for an updated photo - although I showed him my 18 year old Green Card photo and he was OK with that

My new license won't expire until 2012 - and who knows - maybe I'll get another blue sticker then.

FWIW, I will not voluntarily get an updated digitized Florida license, because the state sells DL data to third party companies and does not properly secure the data, digital photos and signatures. Too much of an identity theft risk. In this case, low tech is better.

I hope your mother is doing OK now.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by J-M View Post
That explains quite a few things I've seen while driving in Florida!
Many of the older folks are tame compared to some of the loony tunes we have driving down here. At least the older drivers are moving slow enough that you can get out of their way - not so easy when someone rides their sportbike past you at 140mph just inches away from the side of your car.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 3:08 pm
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Yeah, it's politics.

It's not just the vision, the last 10 years of my father's life I wouldn't ride with him because I didn't trust his judgment, not because of any vision problems. He would overload and simply not process all the information.

I also consider the elderly drivers a much greater risk than the teenagers. Yes, teenagers get in a lot of accidents but they don't take out too many other people in the process.

The elderly, though, overlook things. I've only been in one actual accident with an elderly driver but it was nuts: I'm going along in the parking lot at slow speed as I'm looking for an open space. I see this car start to pull out straight at me--there's no way I can get out of the way in time so I do the only thing I can--lay on the horn.

She hears me but thinks I'm honking at her for being rude and pulling out in front of me. She has no idea I'm there until impact.

Not only did she not check her mirror before backing but she didn't check her mirror when she heard my horn!

I've also been in one minor accident caused by an elderly driver that didn't even realize what he did. I'm going along, 45mph street. He makes a left turn from a side street across my lane. I see he's going awfully slowly and lightly apply the brakes to give him a bit more time to clear--but he comes to a complete stop across my lane instead. There's traffic to my right, no evasion is possible. I stand on the brakes and hope it's enough--he doesn't react to the squeal, he doesn't react to the horn but I do stop in time. The woman behind me, though, already saw the brake lights from my light braking and thus was a bit slow to react to the fact that I was now stopping hard and she came up just short.

I had another close call with probably the same driver later. Same side street, he turns right. He proceeds to drive straddling the lane divider at about 20 mph. Again, no evasion is possible and this time I'm pretty sure the brakes won't be enough. Fortunately he moves far enough over that I can slip past--and just in time, also, as I had to aim for a central impact so long as I thought I was going to hit him. A central impact would have meant walking away from damaged cars, a glancing impact would likely have thrown me into the oncoming traffic and that could kill.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 3:22 pm
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What surprises me is that the doctors attending you Mother did not call in a cancellation on the DL. In many places a doctor who has treated a patient for a neurological or other condition that may affect their driving can be held liable if they do not act to suspend the DL. I do not know that there is a law that governs this or simply precedent of docs being successfully sued when a patient has driven and then injured another party.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Teacher49 View Post
What surprises me is that the doctors attending you Mother did not call in a cancellation on the DL. In many places a doctor who has treated a patient for a neurological or other condition that may affect their driving can be held liable if they do not act to suspend the DL. I do not know that there is a law that governs this or simply precedent of docs being successfully sued when a patient has driven and then injured another party.
Can't say for certain but as Dovster's mom's doc perhaps did not actually see her in a state of unconsciousness then he can't report her on her say-so alone.

A friend of mine has had a couple of seizures. Doc reported first one to motor vehicles as he saw it but did not report a second one as that info came as a verbal report from the patient.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Teacher49 View Post
What surprises me is that the doctors attending you Mother did not call in a cancellation on the DL.
An ophthalmologist declared my father legally blind, thus getting him a handicapped parking permit for his car, but this didn't cause them to revoke his license.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 5:55 pm
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Dovster, I hope your mom is OK now!

My late mother-in-law lived on the west coast of Florida. Bless her heart. When she felt that driving was not her deal, she walked into the state driver's office and traded her license for a state ID card!

She was a remarkable woman in many ways.

She had to give up a lot of activities by stopping driving, but she felt it was the right thing for her to do.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Teacher49 View Post
What surprises me is that the doctors attending you Mother did not call in a cancellation on the DL. In many places a doctor who has treated a patient for a neurological or other condition that may affect their driving can be held liable if they do not act to suspend the DL. I do not know that there is a law that governs this or simply precedent of docs being successfully sued when a patient has driven and then injured another party.
I am not motivated enough to look it up, but I would bet Florida requires the license holder to notify the DMV (or equivalent) if and when a medical condition pops up that could affect one's driving ability.

In Texas, one must declare whether or not one has a medical condiiton that may affect one's ability to drive - Diabetes, Hypertension, Neurological deficits, etc -and- certify that one is under the care of a physician for treatment of said conditions. Other states I have lived in have similar requirements.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 9:42 pm
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I had an old man rear-end me at a stop light. He wasn't going too fast to stop. He just never even tried to apply the brake. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. He tried to convince me not to report the accident, so I assume that sort of thing happened to him several times.

Not a week goes by without a story about an old person failing to brake (or accelerating instead of braking) before crashing into a coffee shop, daycare center, street festival, etc. It's a serious problem.
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Old Jul 26, 07, 10:34 pm
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Elderly drivers have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Al-Qaeda has.

(Santa Monica's Farmer's Market-George Russell Weller killed 10 innocents in 2003 and hasn't seen a day in jail for it)
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