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More testing for Wisconsin’s older drivers stalls

An effort in the Wisconsin Legislature to test drivers aged 75 and older more frequently appears doomed.

The bill, which could affect more than 276,000 drivers in Wisconsin, would require drivers older than 75 to pass a vision test every three years, and drivers older than 85 to pass a vision and written test on traffic laws every two years.

Sponsored by Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, D-Milwaukee, the bill also would revoke the licenses of individuals who don’t take the exams when required.

Drivers of all ages in the state are currently required to take a vision test and renew their licenses every eight years.

The Assembly Committee on Transportation voted 9-5 this spring to advance the measure. But the bill – AB43 – has remained in the Joint Committee on Finance ever since.

The roadblock the bill has encountered puzzles supporters, which include AARP-Wisconsin, the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups and the state Transportation Department.

Opponents, however, contend the measure discriminates against older drivers.

Younger drivers cause more accidents, Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, told the La Crosse Tribune. He said any further restrictions should affect all drivers.

More than 20 states have provisions that help ensure older drivers continue to meet licensing requirements. Many require more frequent tests or have specific tests for older drivers.

Rep. J.A. Hines, R-Oxford, told the Tribune the fact the bill was sent to the Finance panel means it is likely to die without a floor vote.
 
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