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Too Old To Drive?

The issue of older drivers has resurfaced again after an 87-year-old woman in Maine plowed her car into a restaurant last weekend, injuring 27 people, 13 of whom were taken to area hospitals.

Last November, 15-year-old Brandi Mitock was killed when a 96-year-old man hit her with his car. Since then, BrandiÂ's father, Mark Mitock, has been lobbying for a California bill that would require elderly drivers to undergo regular driving tests.

In March, Byron Cox, the driver who killed Brandi, received a sentence of five years probation and a revoked license. Cox suffers from dementia and has had a series of strokes.

Now Mitock is taking on the powerful American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which is opposed to the measure.

Â"I think theyÂ're really turning their backs on their own constituency because the evidence is really clear, very compelling that seniors are the fastest growing group of drivers in the country, and the group at greatest risk,Â" Mitock told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras.

Â"I donÂ't know why AARP is against it,Â" he said. Â"They talk about age discrimination. But that is not an issue. The compelling state interest of safety first is the primary interest that we should be looking at.Â"

The legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Tom Hayden, would force the one-million U.S. drivers over the age of 75 to pass a written and road test when their licenses come up for renewal.

Those tests would be required more frequently as the drivers get older; at age 90, they would have to be taken every year.

The bill passed the California State Senate and is now in the AssemblyÂ's transportation committee, where it will be voted on when members return from recess, August 16.

Â"There is not anyone I talked to who does not agree that as we age, abilities significant to driving safely begin to diminish,Â" says Mitock. Â"The question is when that happens and who is to make the determination.

Â"Right now, adult children are faced with making that very tough decision of taking away the keys or hiding their parentsÂ' cars; doctors are being asked to turn in their own patients. ThatÂ's not adequate. The DMV, which is the licensing agency, needs to monitor its licensees more carefully.Â"