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Should older drivers surrender their driver’s licenses at a certain age?

Utah Highway Patrol works at the scene of a wrong way crash involving three vehicles in on the I-215 eastbound ramp from southbound I-15 in Murray on Monday, April 19, 2021. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle was fleeing police and is now in custody. A female driver of a vehicle that was hit was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Should older drivers in Utah be forced to take a driving test at a certain age or surrender their driver’s license? Or should the driving test be given on an individual basis based on ability, not age? A state senator argues his side in the debate.

A 70-year-old man is spotted by police over the weekend driving on the wrong side of the Redwood Road with no lights at 2 a.m.

Why are wrong-way crashes up 30% in Utah and even higher across the country?

Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler of Woods Cross joins Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss unsafe older drivers and how to get them off the road.

“If you have an aging parent or grandparent, and you legitimately believe that they are a risk to themselves and to others, rather than confronting them and taking the keys away from them, you can contact the DMV and let the state kind of be the bad guy,” Weiler said.

“Anytime I cannot be the bad guy, that’s a victory for Dave,” he said.

How to report an unsafe driver

A family member, friend, neighbor, or a concerned citizen may submit a form to the state Driver License Division to report a driver who may be unsafe to drive.

After the Unsafe Driver Review, the driver may be granted a restricted driving privilege or may have their driving privilege denied if the person is unable to meet minimum-testing standards. The form submitted must be notarized. The identity of the person notifying the Driver License Division shall not be disclosed, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Mandatory testing for older drivers or discrimination of the elderly?

Dave wanted to know if Utah or any state requires a driving test for older drivers.

“Like you did when you were 16. Let’s go for a drive and see if you’re still safe on the roads,” he said.

Weiler pointed out that with 3.3 million people in Utah and 75% of residents being adults, individual driving tests would take time and money. Also, he said, requiring all drivers over a certain age to take a driving test would be discriminatory, and there are federal laws against age discrimination.

“As a policymaker, I’d prefer it be done on a case-by-case basis rather than this bright-line test,” the senator said. “What I am opposed to [is] saying at this age we’re going to start treating everyone differently.”

Weiler pointed out that everyone knows an elderly person who does well in their 80s and even 90s.

“To start forcing everybody at 65 to do something different . . . we’re all gonna pay for that because you have to get in the car and drive around with them.”

To get his 94-year-old father-in-law off the road, Weiler said he bought his car.

Weiler closed by saying he likes the way the current driving system in Utah manages its older drivers.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.