NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Missouri's Impaired Driver Law

September 14, 1999

Other states will be watching the effects of a new law in Missouri designed to keep impaired persons out of the driver's seat. Rather than targeting older people and setting an age beyond which a person cannot drive, it attempts to weed out drivers whose failed skills make them candidates for accidents.

  • The eight-month-old law has already yielded 689 reports about impaired Missouri drivers -- some of whom lost their licenses, while others were issued restrictions.
  • The law allows those closest to a possibly unfit driver to report the person's condition confidentially.
  • The driver must take a new driving test -- and failing the test means that the person's license is revoked.
  • Drivers 75 or older are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers age 65 to 74, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration -- and, except for drivers age 19 or younger, have the highest driver fatality rates of any age group.

Supporters say that prior to the new law going into effect, family members who were worried that an older member was a menace on the road could only plead with him or her not to drive or take away the car keys -- which often led to a shattering of family relations.

Source: Andrea Tortora, "Missouri Makes Ability, Not Age, the Driving Concern," USA Today, September 13, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues