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Massachusetts considers extra eye testing for elderly drivers

Posted On Thu, February 18, 2010

A new bill being proposed in Massachusetts that would require elderly drivers to take vision tests in order to retain their drivers license has passed its first hurdle and will move on to the Senate after being approved by the state House of Representatives earlier this month.

According to The Springfield Republican, The House overwhelmingly approved a bill 146-9 that requires drivers who are at least 75-years old to take an eye exam every five years in order to remain on the road.

The eye tests would have to be carried out in person, and would also allow elders to present vision screening certificates as proof, the Boston Globe reported.

"Regardless of whatever we do in the Legislature, for some people we never go far enough," said Representative Charles A. Murphy, a Democrat from Burlington and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, according to the Globe. "The steps we're taking are reasonable and will result in safer roads in the Commonwealth."

The bill, which was proposed by the committee and also bans drivers who are 17-years-old and younger from using a cell phone, did not have any requirements for medical officials to report patients to authorities if they are having difficulty seeing.

For motorists, a bill that is proactive in taking elderly and incapable drivers off the road would likely result in a decline in car accidents. Fewer accidents would lead to drop the amount of insurance claims that could potentially lead to decreases in auto insurance premiums.

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