Lincoln--Tuesday, AARP Nebraska called for an interim legislative study on factors related to safe driving and transportation options for the state's aging population.
LB 351, introduced by Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, would require Nebraskans age 80 and over to pass a cognitive test in order to renew their driver's license.
By the year 2035, an estimated 130,000 Nebraskans will be age 80 or older.
"That's a lot of 80-year-olds who will need to get to the grocery store, to the doctor's office, to church on Sunday, to the airport in Omaha to catch a plane to visit the grandkids," said Mark Intermill, advocacy director with AARP Nebraska. "The issue that LB 351 raises is how this growing population of 80-year-olds will make those trips safely when they need to be made."
AARP strongly opposes laws or regulations that require additional testing or screening solely on the basis of age.
"AARP supports efforts to make our highways safer. We recommend that the committee conduct an interim study to determine how we can best identify unsafe drivers in Nebraska and assure that those individuals who stop driving are able to get around in their communities," Intermill told members of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee during Tuesday's hearing on LB 351.
Intermill noted that public transportation services to meet the demands of a rapidly aging population vary greatly across the state.
"Knowing that there is a means of getting around the community to do errands or keep appointments would make it easier for an older driver to make the decision to stop driving," he said. "To the extent possible, we should assure that retiring from driving is not an isolating decision."