85-year-old Hangzhou senior gets driver’s license under new policy

After a policy change in October allowed people aged 70 and over to obtain a driver’s license, a local Hangzhou senior surnamed Huang, 72, went to a driving school for a consultation.

Huang said that he never got the chance to learn how to drive when he was young, but he hopes to travel around with his wife during retirement.

“I have confidence in my health. I go to the natatorium to swim every morning,” Huang said, “as long as I drive slowly, it will be safe.”

Another senior surnamed Yu, 71, who accompanied her husband to ask for details about registering as a trainee at a driving school, said that it will make things easier for their grandchildren if they are able to drive.

Under the new measure released by the Ministry of Public Security, applicants over 70 must have their memory, judgment, reaction time and other abilities tested to ensure they are capable of driving safely. They must also have a medical examination and submit a medical certificate every year.

So far, 12 seniors over the age of 70 have enrolled in driver’s education courses, with the eldest among them aged 86. Eight have passed the ability test, the eldest of whom is 85 years old.

In addition, the new policy allows more drivers to reduce the number of visits to the transportation authority for annual checks of their vehicles.

According to the new rule, small vehicles with less than 10 years of usage must be inspected three times every 10 years, as opposed to the previous annual checks.

Since the new policy came into force several months ago, the number of vehicles going through checks at the local transportation authority has been reduced to around 2,000, from 3,000 previously, said Chen Guoren, a police officer at the China Hangzhou public security bureau.

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