Judging by the letters sent to The World-Herald’s Public Pulse, a bill that proposed cognitive testing for drivers 80 and older raised more than a few blood pressure readings in Nebraska. Read our coverage of the public hearing on LB 351 here.
Those opposed to the bill will be glad to know it’s not going anywhere this session. During the hearing, Scottsbluff Sen. John Harms said he would support an interim study on the measure. While a study resolution has not yet been introduced, Sen. Annette Dubas, chairwoman of the Transporation and Telecommunications Committee, said recently that’s probably where the bill is headed.
When to stop driving is one of those thorny issues with which lawmakers often struggle. On one hand, the traffic safety issue clearly enters the realm of public policy. On the other hand, the ability to drive is closely tied to a person’s independence and most of us like to think we’ll know when it’s time to hang up the keys.
Those opposed to the bill were louder than supporters. But with each story we published, I was contacted by readers who hoped the bill would gain traction. They told of older loved ones unwilling to stop driving when they were no longer capable. In one case, a reader (unwilling to be identified) said his 80-year-old-plus mother even refused to stop after being warned by a police officer. Not long after, she caused an injury accident.
Some suggeted all drivers, regardless of age, should undergo cognitive tests. Others say the decision should be made by a driver’s doc. Maybe so.
But whether a solution can be found by requiring tests at the office of the DMV or the family MD will have wait for another session.