Iowa has the nation’s highest proportion of elderly residents, and in a rural state that means many are also drivers. Scott Falb is a Driver Safety Specialist for the Iowa Department of Transportation, and keeps track of statistics. Falb starts by choosing the 5-year range of people 65 to 69 years old, and he finds there are 100-thousand licensed drivers in Iowa within that age group. Among Iowans age 70 to 74, there are 91-thousand, and of those age 75 to 79 there are 77-thousand drivers. Obviously, the statistician says, it depends on your definition of “old.” In the group aged 80-84, there are still 52-thousand licensed drivers in the state, in the 85-89 group it’s down to 23-thousand-400, of Iowans age 90-94 there are almost 6000 drivers, and it drops off to 584 drivers age 95 to 100. And there are 24 drivers still licensed to operate a car who’re over the age of 100. As far as the safety of drivers in various age categories, Falb says the graph shows a “bathtub effect”…from high to low, and then back up again, as the driver’s age increases. Crash rates are high for the younger drivers, then they go down and are very low for the middle-aged and the “young elderly,” people through 70 or 75 years old. After that they begin to rise again — by 85 it’s going up pretty fast in most rate charts. Falb says while you can be too young to drive, there’s no law limiting how old a motorist can be. The DOT does have a “graduated driver’s license” for older as well as younger drivers, and restricted licenses for those who can’t drive anywhere and everywhere but under some circumstances still can be safe. While nobody will automatically lose their driver’s license at a certain age, any driver of any age can be tested. When licensing-examining personnel see something they think might affect a driver’s skill, they can take them out for a test, or ask for a doctor’s report on any condition — medical, vision or cognition — they think might affect the subject’s driving. Iowa grants only a 2-year license to operators under 18 or over 70, and offers the elderly a “situational” license renewal that might allow them to drive only in daylight, or restrict them to lower speeds. In the case of some elderly drivers, the licensing workers will ask where they go and what roads they drive on — and give them a driving test to see if they can safely to go just those places, over those roadways. See more at the DOT website on license renewal for all drivers, and what the agency does to make sure older motorists are safe.