Drivers Sound Off on Proposed Cognitive Test for Older Drivers

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A new bill is proposing to require all Nebraska drivers age 80 or older to pass a cognitive test in order to obtain their license. Scottsbluff Senator John Harms is behind LB 351. The bill notes that should a drive fail the cognitive test, they'd have the opportunity to pass a written driving test.

Many drivers said they support the bill, that it's good for road safety.

"I think it would probably be a good idea because the medication that they take, that's prescribed to them, they have side effects," said Grand Island driver, Jennifer Haas.

And it's not just younger drivers who are supporting it. Seventy-year-old Janet Roberts said she'd even support testing for those her age.

"I'm very for it. I think it would be essential for the safety of all drivers if they are tested," Roberts said.

Not everyone agreed though. Paul Swanson said he's nearing 80, but is sure of his driving abilities.

"I think that's ridiculous. A lot of older people are more careful as a rule than a lot of these young people," said Swanson.

But other drivers noted that it's not just about being careful.

"I've seen many older drivers, I just don't feel they have the correct responses, emergency-wise, speed-wise, can they hit the brake pedal fast enough to avoid that child who has raced out on the street? And that really scares me," said Roberts.

Approximately 60,000 seniors would be affected by the bill. The Legislature's Transportation and Telecommunications Committee will hear testimony from supporters and opponents of the bill on Tuesday.