In the past few years, closer attention has been paid in this state to a series of Massachusetts car accidents that involved older drivers.
So, as a Boston/Dedham auto accident attorney, I’m happy to report that last week Massachusetts state health regulators approved rules that define when an older person is too cognitively or functionally impaired to drive safely. The regulations were based on advice from medical specialists and public hearings.
The new rules give health care providers guidance in evaluating when an older person should stop driving and relinquish his or her car keys.The new rules are expected to take effect in a few weeks. The decision to relinquish the car keys will based on “observations or evidence of the actual effect” that an impairment may have on someone’s ability to drive safely.
In 2010, after age-related safety concerns became a serious issue, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law that encouraged police and providers to report suspected impaired drivers to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. This law also prohibited men and women over the age of 75 to renew their Driver’s Licenses on the internet. Instead, they are required to personally visit a registry office and take a vision test.
It is my hope that these new regulations cut down the number of Massachusetts motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrian-car accidents. But the sad truth is this: being injured in a car accident is, according to statistics, one of the most likely events to happen in your life. Other than being the best driver you can be, there’s not much you can do about it. However, these new rules make it mandatory that older, impaired drivers give up their car keys, making our roads safer for everyone to enjoy.