DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa (WHO) — Is there such a thing as being too old to drive? The Iowa Department of Transportation tests drivers on ability, not age, but it has a plan in place if you believe a senior is too old to be behind the wheel.
The issue of senior safety arose this week when 97-year-old Arnold Whitney died after a crash in Dallas County on Tuesday. Iowa State Patrol investigators believed Whitney caused the crash, which also seriously injured a 34-year-old Adel woman and her 11-year-old daughter.
Investigators said Whitney turned onto Old Highway 6 from I Avenue between Adel and Redfield without yielding to oncoming traffic. A driver immediately rear-ended his minivan, which swerved into the minivan carrying the mother and child. Whitney died at the scene.
Jenna Anderson helps lead the Iowa DOT’s fitness compliance department. She stressed that ability matters more than age, but those who are worried about a loved one’s driving skills can fill out this form asking the Iowa DOT for a second opinion.
“A citizen can write in a request to have someone come in for a re-examination,” Anderson said. “I imagine it’s an extremely sensitive subject with a lot of individuals. I imagine it’s even more sensitive when its family to family member.”
Iowa DOT also put together this website to help families have that difficult conversation if needed.
“What we do is ensure that anyone with a medical or physical ability that would require a medical report is safe to drive on Iowa’s roadways,” Anderson said. “If they are, we ensure that they keep their driver’s license. If they’re not, we work with them, whether that be with adding restrictions to that license or ultimately revoking that drivers license.”
Iowa DOT reports more than 500,000 Iowans over the age of 65 are currently licensed to drive.