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'Slow down, life is too short': Death of 94-year-old man puts spotlight on older Arizona drivers

Per state law, those 65 and over only need to pass a vision test and update their photo to renew their license.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona residents are holding onto their driver's licenses even after reaching 100 years old.

There are 502 people that are over the age of 100 licensed to cruise around the Grand Canyon State, according to the Motor Vehicle Division.

The number of people that have renewed their license within the last five years is in the thousands for mature drivers:

  • Ages 90-99: 33,369
  • Ages 80-89: 231,173
  • Ages 70-79: 609,616
  • Ages 65-69: 402,712

Per state law, those 65 and older are required to renew their license every 5 years by going to an MVD office for a vision test and to update their photo. No test drive is required.

Mature driver killed

On Sunday, a day before turning 95 years old, Donald Detzler was killed in a car accident in Scottsdale.

ORIGINAL STORY: Scottsdale man, 94, killed in 3-vehicle crash with USPS van

The accident happened less than two miles from his home, just north of Scottsdale and McDowell Roads on Sunday.

“He was a good person, a good man, hardworking, very independent, very healthy,” said Detzler’s neighbor and friend of 53 years, who asked 12 News not to use her name.

The long-time friend said Detzler was self-sufficient and active up until the crash.

“He was up on the roof. He painted the house,” said the neighbor. “[He] did the painting on the roof and everything.”

Scottsdale police said Detzler was hit by a car while he made a left turn into a private drive near Paul’s Ace Hardware. The vehicle that hit him crashed into a post office van. 

Detzler was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Police are still investigating the crash.

“Making a left-hand turn is a dangerous maneuver for anybody,” said Maria Wojtczak, driving instructor, and owner of Driving MBA.

Left-turns are dangerous because a driver is crossing oncoming traffic and people over a certain age might not be able to react quickly if an impact is imminent.

“As we get older there are several things that can change,” Wojtczak said. “Certainly our eyesight, so peripheral vision may start to wane. We start to process slower. Reaction time will change significantly as well.”

While every driver is different, data shows teenage drivers are the age group that tends to most get into crashes, Wojtczak said.

“I rode with him many times in the car,” Detzler’s neighbor said. “He was a good driver.”

Detzler’s long-time friend hopes people are careful on the road.

“Slow down, life is too short,” she said.

RELATED: 'We just hope he didn't suffer': Family remembers Phoenix man killed in crash involving stolen vehicle

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