Reporting Christie Ileto
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Safety on Maryland roads: that’s the personal mission for the parents of a former Hopkins student killed by an elderly driver.
Christie Ileto explains why their proposal could save lives.
When an elderly driver killed Hopkins student Nathan Krasnopoler two years ago, it became his family’s personal mission to target people they believe should no longer get behind the wheel.
“He would be very happy to know that I was going to try to make sure that drivers are reviewed,” said Susan Cohen.
Tuesday, Cohen told lawmakers she would like to see drivers over 70 get their licenses reviewed every two years.
“Many drivers don’t realize their abilities have changed,” Cohen said.
In 2012, lawmakers extended renewals from every five to eight years.
Some drivers don’t want it to change.
“I had a grandmother, she drove her car until she was 82,” said driver Samuel Jones.
An MVA report just released says licensed drivers over 75 have the lowest crash rate of any driver but they also drive less.
“They are often at fault but they’re a hazard to themselves more so than other people on the road,” said Jake Nelson, AAA.
But that doesn’t change the fact officials say in the next 15 years, the number of elderly drivers in Maryland will triple.
Maryland already has more than 600,000 licensed drivers over 65. That’s why experts say we need to deal with this now.
“When you’re elderly, you are driving a very big vehicle and you’re responsible for that and if you don’t have the reflexes, it can cause danger,” said Mark Schaefer.
Currently, 27 states and D.C. require additional testing for seniors. Maryland requires drivers over 40 to take an eye exam.
“We’re not trying to take people off the road,” said Cohen.
Cohen says this extra step will keep more families safe. She hopes a bill will be ready to go before lawmakers next session.
Next Wednesday will mark the two-year anniversary of Nathan Krasnopoler’s fatal accident.