Lawmakers in Concord are debating whether elderly drivers should be required to take road tests before renewing their driver's licenses.
The House Transportation Committee heard testimony on a bill Tuesday that would require testing of older drivers. Bette Champney told the committee that her husband, Gary Champney, and another motorcyclist were killed last year when they were struck by a car driven by an 87-year-old man.
"He would be here today if it wasn't for that elderly driver who overreached and overdrove straight into Gary," she said.
Police were still investigating the crash when the driver died of his injuries. But that crash and others have sparked a renewed debate over whether older drivers should be road-tested based solely on their age.
Rep. Tara Sad, D-Walpole, said she thinks 85 might be a good starting point.
"The issue of age discrimination is top on my list of concerns," she said. "I feel that statistics prove there is a legitimate basis for testing because of public safety, but it needs to be examined."
AARP spokesman Bob Denz said there are problems with testing older drivers.
"AARP has found that age-based testing has not been effective," he said.
But Denz said the AARP is open to having the discussion, especially because an aging population means there are more older drivers on the road.
Denz said it can be a tricky subject for family members to address or for the driver to acknowledge. He said it's a problem that continues to evolve, along with solutions to it.
"Every day, I think we are coming in with something new," he said. "The best we have, of course, is to teach older drivers skills and so forth and know when it's time to stop."
Age-based testing wouldn't be a new concept in New Hampshire. Such a law was on the books a couple of years ago until cost issues led to its repeal.
How do you feel about aging drivers. Do you feel its discrimination to ask older people to submit to more testing to prove that they can be safe on the roads? Do you think we need to do it in order to protect the safety of all on the roads? Whats your thoughts?