Tag Archives: driver

AG Says Legislature Could Impose Special Restrictions on Senior Citizen Driving

The Tennessean has a lengthy story today on the possibility of Tennessee imposing extra restrictions on senior citizens’ drivers licenses.
The idea has been floated in the past, but not for years. If memory serves, former Rep. Frank Buck of Dowelltown once filed a bill calling for vision testing of older drivers when their licenses came up for renewal, but it caused such an uproar he backed off.
As the story notes, Rep. Eddie Bass recently sought an attorney general’s opinion on the subject and it basically gives a green light to laws imposing special restrictions on older drivers. But it is suggested that filing of any such bill is highly unlikely in this election year.
Exerpt from the story:
As the number of elderly drivers on the road — and accompanying concerns about their ability to drive safely — increases, state officials are exploring new laws that could subject older drivers to additional testing, make it easier for Tennessee to take licenses away from older drivers at the request of family members, or both.
Last month, Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. issued an opinion that stated such laws would not be unconstitutional or discriminatory so long as they were “rationally related to a legitimate state interest.”
The opinion came in response to questions submitted by state Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, a retired sheriff who is apparently exploring more stringent licensing requirements for senior drivers. Bass did not return multiple phone messages and emails seeking comment. In his question to the attorney general, Bass did not specify a certain age where additional testing might be required.
Under present laws, Tennessee is one of the least restrictive states in the country for older drivers. Most other states do have laws in place that impose heightened licensing requirements on older drivers, from accelerated renewal cycles to requiring that drivers over a certain age pass vision and/or reaction tests. Some states go so far as to require older drivers to submit a doctor’s certification that they are safe to drive. Federal law already allows health-care providers to provide protected information to public officials if they believe there is a threat to public safety.

WWII Vet, 86, Charged $8 for ‘Free’ Photo ID

World War II veteran Darwin Spinks, 86, is wondering why he had to pay $8 to get a voter photo ID that should have been free when he recently went to the driver’s license testing center here, according to the Daily News Journal.
He was sent from one line to another to have a picture taken, then was charged.
“I said, ‘You mean I’ve got to pay again?’ She says, ‘Yes,'” explained Spinks, a resident of County Farm Road, who was stationed on the USS Goshen in World War II and was called to duty again for the Korean War.
“I served my country in two wars. Most of that fighting blood was gone after World War II,” he said.
…Applicants for a photo ID also must sign an affidavit, punishable by perjury, stating they do not have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes. They do not have to show their voter registration card.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security checked Spinks’ application Tuesday and found no affidavit attached, said Jennifer Donnals, communications director.
The department will send Spinks a letter and include an affidavit for a voter ID, which he can sign and return in a self-addressed, stamped envelope, she said. The department will then refund his $8, according to Donnals.
“If he came in for a photo ID for voting purposes, he should not have been charged,” Donnals said.

Bill Would Revoke Driver’s License of Those Late in Paying Court Fines

A bill that calls for revoking the driver’s licenses of those who fail to pay court costs or fines on time won approval of committees in both the House and Senate over objections of some Democrats on Tuesday.
Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, protested that HB1877 by Rep. Jim Gotto, R-Nashville, would “turn the Department of Safety into a collection agency” for courts. The department issues driver’s licenses.
Armstrong also contended enactment of the bill and loss of a driver’s license would leave some people unable to work and reduce the prospects of them paying off debts. The debtor would also have a new $65 fee to get a driver’s license reinstated, he said.
But Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, said Gotto had worked with him to develop an amendment assuring that people can work out a payment plan with court clerks. With that revision, Tindell said he could support the bill.
The bill’s “fiscal note,” prepared by legislative staff, estimates that state government will collect an extra $6 million per year in fines, court costs and litigation taxes with passage of the bill while local governments statewide will collectively also get an extra $6 million annually.
With Tindell’s support, the bill was approved by the House Finance Committee and is now ready for a floor vote in the House. The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved the measure Tuesday, moving it to the Senate Finance Committee.