UPDATE 1/23: The measure to tighten state regulation of older drivers was approved unanimously in a House subcommittee Thursday and now advances to the full Transportation Committee.


RICHMOND---Changes could have some elderly drivers handing over their keys sooner if a new bill finds its way through the General Assembly.

As it stands now, drivers 80-years-old and up must renew their license every eight years. They must also pass a vision test.

The new bill, proposed by State Senator Jeff McWaters, would lower the age to 75-years-old and up, and instead of every eight years to renew, they would have to do it every five years.

The changes are based on recommendations from a recent DMV study.

'Our objective in this is to make the highways safer for all of us,' McWaters said.

According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17 percent of traffic deaths in the United States involved people 65 years and older in 2011.

'You see a lot of people driving out there who are pretty old,' said Virginia Beach resident Warren Nichols. 'You wonder how they managed to keep their license.'

McWaters says the next step is for the bill to head to both the House and Senate transportation committees.

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