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Survey of older drivers' experiences with Florida's mandatory vision re-screening law for licensure

McGwin, Gerald, Jr.; McCartt, Anne T.; Braitman, Keli A.; Owsley, Cynthia
Ophthalmic Epidemiology
March-April 2008

Purpose: To document the license renewal experiences of Florida drivers ages 80 and older who must pass a visual acuity test when renewing their driver?s license.
Participants: A random sample of Florida residents ages 80 and older whose driver?s licenses were scheduled to expire between January 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005 as identified by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Methods: Study participants (n=1,242 drivers) were contacted via telephone and completed a survey regarding their experiences with the license renewal process.
Results: The majority (80.2%) of those eligible for license renewal reportedly attempted to do so and 88.0% succeeded the first time they tried. A large percentage of drivers (88%) who failed the vision test said they sought treatment, and 77.6% of drivers who reattempted renewal reportedly passed the test. About half of drivers who did not seek renewal said they thought they would fail the vision test. The majority of those choosing not to renew their license (99.5%) reported using transportation alternatives.
Conclusions: This Study suggests that the Florida vision screening re-licensure law is not a deterrent to seeking license renewal for the =80-year-old population. Furthermore, only a small percentage of Florida drivers ages = 80 years and older reported that they failed the visual acuity screening test and were denied license renewal.