According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there is a sharp increase in crash fatalities once drivers reach age 70, and these rates are highest among drivers who are older than 85. One reason is the increased vulnerability to injury of aging bodies and brittle bones. However, some of the increased risk of crash injuries is due to the effect age has on driving abilities.
Though some states have age-specific driver laws designed to ensure that older drivers have the skills they need to drive safely, Oklahoma is not one of them. According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, the state does, however, have guidelines for drivers who are medically at risk, regardless of age.
Visual acuity restrictions
As people age, their vision may change drastically. Driver’s license guidelines state that drivers must have 20/60 vision in each eye either with or without corrective lenses. There is also a minimum visual field requirement. An eye doctor may file a report stating that an older driver is not able to drive well enough to stay safe on the road, or may recommend that the driver have a restriction that does not allow him or her to drive after dark or above a certain speed.
Health condition restrictions
A number of different health conditions may result in driver’s license restrictions, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Metabolic diseases
- Neurological disorders
Although these are not exclusive to older people, they become more common with age. A driver’s performance on the examination may also result in the loss of a license, as well as impaired ability, emotional distress or a poor psychological evaluation outcome.