Senior Drivers React To Driving Bill

Many seniors who still are able to drive could be affected by a bill being considered by the Nebraska Legislature.

The Transportation and Telecommunications committee hear public testimony Tuesday on LB 351. The bill would require anyone age 80 or older to take a cognitive test before getting a driver's license.

"So if there is an indication of mental illness, dementia, or problems with judgment, or discerning certain situations, a follow up written test would be required," said Sen. John Harms of Scottbluff, who introduced the bill.

At the Papillion Senior Center there are a number of regulars who are 80 or older and still drive.

"I don't want them to take my driver's license away," says 80-year-old Roseann Bartling. "I would be totally lost if they did."

At the age of 83, Floyd Hermanson still drives, even though he has been diagnosed with macular degeneration.

"Things are a little glossy to me," said Hermanson. "So I've got to drive more carefully, because I don't see as far ahead. And I don't see quite as clear as other people."

He stays off the busy highways and doesn't go too far from home.

"My eye doctor told me to stay off the interstate and don't drive at night," Hermanson said.

Every driver has to pass an eye exam at least every 10 years to get a driver's license.

Herbert Cooley still drives at 82 and understand the need for more testing.

"It kind of depends on what kind of test they give you, and how strict they are," he said. "But I don't think it hurts anybody to take a test."

If a driver has trouble with the cognitive test. LB 351 would also give a license examiner the option to require a driving test as well.

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