Too old to drive - How to convince older drivers to give up their keys?


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I think the reason that most people refuse to stop driving is that driving is a strong indicator of independence. Give up driving and you're basically giving up some of your independence. Perhaps what is needed is some thinking on how to allow people to attain some level of independence even if they give up driving. Instead of taxis, what about something similar that isn't so expensive? There must be some sort of way a driver and car can be rented for a day which is cheaper than a taxi. Perhaps they could be supported by the government so they don't have to charge as much and they can focus only on seniors. I know there are already programs like that in Canada.

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More investment in public transport, particularly in the U.S. Many of our cities and towns have no public transport, so seniors are really stuck. In our town, there are a couple of shuttles available to take one to a doctor's appointment or shopping, but often reservations have to be made some time in advance, and there's a limit to the area covered by the shuttle. It's not possible to just decide to go shopping at 10:00 am on the day. Giving up the keys would be easier if otherwise still capable seniors were able to get around town independently by other means.

After a couple of TIAs ("mini-strokes"), my 85-year-old mother decided on her own that she should stop driving. But, she missed it so much, and hated not being able to go where and when she liked, that she asked her neurologist his opinion. He was able to give her an honest assessment of her skills and confirm that it wouldn't be safe for her to drive any longer. It hasn't been an easy adjustment, she still hates not being able to drive, but she understands why she can't. I hope when my time comes to stop driving, I'll be living in a place that has other options for me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

More investment in public transport,

"Public transport" ...sounds kinda socialist to me, boy... you one of them Commie-pinko Obama-lovers we keep hearin' so much about on this here site?

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We need to encourage older people to cycle more, like in Japan. That way they can still have some independence after quitting driving (i.e. go down the street to go shopping etc). It's also good for their health. Taking the bus just helps speed up their ageing process.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As long as they pass the test, they have a right to drive like everybody else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good article, full of sensible advice.

Ultimately it will be on a person-to-person basis, probably involving the doctor and other family members.

Thank goodness for common sense.

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The tests that doctors are being asked to do to assess elderly patients are not the best use of their time. This is the responsibility of the motor vehicle licensing organizations. They are the ones who issue the licenses. At age 60 drivers should be required to take a written and road test to maintain a license. Then they should be re-tested in 5-year increments afterwards. If drivers are not competent to pass the tests (which should include the elements listed above which doctors were asked to check as well as a road test as well as an option to retake the test if they fail the first time) then licenses should be revoked.

At the same time, better options for those who cannot drive must be considered and perhaps subsidized. Taxis are expensive and buses often inconvenient. Plus, a recent statistic also reported that seniors are safer in their cars than they are on the sidewalk.

The loss of independence and humiliation which accompany the inability to drive are significant to the seniors involved and their families. Many seniors are safer than newly licensed drivers, and we must be careful not to generalize or stereotype gray and white haired drivers. Some can drive accident-free into their 90s and should be encouraged to do so as long as they are fit drivers. Others should have been pulled of the roads. That should be determined by each individual case.

Refresher driving schools would be great small business opportunities. These could coach elderly drivers in techniques to maximize their safety, build their confidence and offer them opportunities to practise for the tests.

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I don't think age matters. You have impaired drivers at any age. And, I don't think leaving it to doctors to report, basically becoming a government spy is the answer. Doctor's should attend to healthcare. There should be an objective test as reaction time, vision, etc. If you don't have the right reaction time or can't see peripherally, you should be driving. Maybe if cars become smart enough, "Sorry Hal, you are in no condition to drive. I drive for you." This may not be that far off.

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100% agreed!

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Back home to renew your license you need to:

Do an eye test Do a reflexes test Take a short, timed, written test

I think that is honestly sufficient. I know some 80 year olds in Japan with better reflexes than most 50 year olds.

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Everyday old folks are mowing down kids and others they do not see, or they see and press the accelerator instead of the brake. This is public safety issue and doctors of course should be involved. Their job is to save lives and if they see someone unfit to drive its better to stop it then than risk kids being killed by feeble but stubborn drivers.

Old folks need to be tested for more than just eyes, and they need to be tested more often that others. Anyone over 55 or so.

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Here is some food for thought, My father who lives in the US iwas going blind and just before he lost all of his vision he went into a BMV to exchange his drivers licence for an ID card, the person behind the BMV counter told him are you sure you want to do this? you will have a hard time getting them back if you do. He said why yes i do i'm blind, what does a blind man need with a driver licence? The BMV personal said :ok if this is what you want to do. and they wonder why they have so much trouble there.

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