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Driver's license age limit extended
( 2003-09-03 10:01) (eastday.com)

Until yesterday, more than 80 residents - aged above 60 years or handicapped in the left leg - had filed applications for driver's license with the Shanghai General Team of Traffic and Patrol Police.

The rush comes as a new rule allowing senior and disabled citizens increased access to driver's license went into effect on Monday. But many applicants were left disappointed, officials said.

The new rule extends the driver's qualification age from 60 to 70 years while allowing left-leg handicapped people to apply for a license.

"On the first day, 48 applicants rushed to our department. However, 11 of them failed the physical examination," said Guo Ji, a spokesman for the traffic police team.

He urged locals to be aware of their own physical condition before rushing to file applications, driven by excitement of the new changes.

Guo guowei, a 63-year-old retired teacher of Yucai Middle School, became the first applicant under the new policy, officials revealed.

"He told our officers that he has always dreamed of driving a car. He intends to make full use of his daughter's vehicle," Guo said.

The teacher has been writing to local newspapers over the past years, calling for the lifting of the age limit for driver's license, officials said.

The new list of elderly and disabled drivers will add to the city's rage for driver's license in the near future, police said.

In the first half of this year, 91,000 driver's licenses were issued. More than 1.6 million people in Shanghai now have a license to drive, 80 percent of them male.

The number of private autos on city roads is expected to top 200,000 this year from 100,000 last year.

According to police, the local craze for driver's license began in 2000 when some 120,000 residents got the crucial document.

By comparison, between 1949 and 1987, a total of 110,000 driver's licenses were issued to locals.

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