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View Full Version : Taking away old folks driver's licenses.



huisjen
09-22-2010, 07:01 AM
I've known an old person or two who shouldn't be driving. Mostly, the law doesn't have a method for reviewing driving ability as people age. Occasionally a doctor will report someone as not fit to drive, but that doesn't cover a lot of cases.

How will your minders know when it's time to take your keys away?

Dan

McMike
09-22-2010, 07:16 AM
The first gatekeeper should be family but often they are too close to the problem to see it. The second gatekeeper should be the doctor; they should be given the right to have a driver's license temporarily revoked.

I've been the first person on the scene for two car accidents, for both the cause of the accident were seniors who were clearly past the ability to drive.

A good sign is if you can't drive the speed limit with confidence then you shouldn't be driving. If you fear merging into traffic then you shouldn't be driving.

David W Pratt
09-22-2010, 07:18 AM
A very interesting question.
AARP would probably weigh in.
Competency based assessment of driving ability would be fairer than the statutory 0.8% blood alcohol for DWI.
As a side note, the local supermarket has long rows of parking places with handicapped only ones at the ends nearest the doors. The cars with handicapped tags are almost invariably parked on the yellow lines, not within them. Conversely, it is very rare to see any of teh other cars parked on teh yellow lines. If they can't park, should they be driving?

skuthorp
09-22-2010, 07:19 AM
It can vary so much. I have known contemporaries 40 years ago who should never been allowed near a vehivcle, and a 95 year old who knew not to drive at night because his reaction times had slowed, but were good enough to campaign a hill climb vehicle he maintained himself. I see old and young on the road every day who should not be but regard driving as a right. I have no 'minders', yet.

bob winter
09-22-2010, 07:29 AM
In Ontario, drivers over 80 have to pass an annual test to keep their licenses in force. Of course, just because you can pass the test doesn't mean you should be driving. I am a far cry from 80 but my reflex's are not what they were 20 years ago. And then there is the question of night vision.

skipper68
09-22-2010, 07:35 AM
A very interesting question.
AARP would probably weigh in.
Competency based assessment of driving ability would be fairer than the statutory 0.8% blood alcohol for DWI.
As a side note, the local supermarket has long rows of parking places with handicapped only ones at the ends nearest the doors. The cars with handicapped tags are almost invariably parked on the yellow lines, not within them. Conversely, it is very rare to see any of teh other cars parked on teh yellow lines. If they can't park, should they be driving?
AARP has,on their sight,a test that shows your driving ability. Around here,we have a high senior population. They drive by memory alot.

skuthorp
09-22-2010, 07:42 AM
As a kid there was a local farmer who drove a 1920's Dodge tourer. The locals reckoned the car knew the way, but on those bush roads in those days it was safe enough. Many a war veteran was given leeway by the local plod.

Rich Jones
09-22-2010, 08:04 AM
My father knew when to stop driving because of failing health. He's gone now, but my 86-year old mother is still driving very well. Whenever one of us four siblings go to visit for a few days(she's in N.C., we're all in the Northeast), we watch her driving very carefully to see how she's doing. On the down side, when she has to give up the keys, it'll be the death of her. She's very independant and drives everywhere.

Shang
09-22-2010, 08:21 AM
Did I mention nearly being run down on our road by a runaway ATV, piloted by a inept fifteen year old?
Their brains are not yet fully formed.

paladin
09-22-2010, 10:29 AM
I think a couple of the folks at the local senior center should have their licenses taken away...but that's the only life they have......and nothing I say will change it.

katey
09-22-2010, 10:32 AM
Dan, is this part of a scheme to fend off a visit from your mother?

McMike
09-22-2010, 10:33 AM
I think, as a society, we need to take better care of our seniors than we currently do. We need to find ways of making sure they are kept mobile and able to still have contact with the outside world. I'd hate to think that my last 10 years will be spent lonely and board.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
09-22-2010, 10:39 AM
In the UK you can't drive a large truck past seventy years of age, from forty five to sixty five there's a medical every five years - and every year from 65 to 70...

Car licence - needs to be renewed regularly after 70 - but you can hold one of those while registered blind!.

After 75 everybody should be given an unrestricted bike ticket.

huisjen
09-22-2010, 10:41 AM
Dan, is this part of a scheme to fend off a visit from your mother?

:D :D :D

I hadn't thought of that. She does qualify somewhat.

Mostly I was thinking of the former owner of this place, as well as a couple whom Sara is about to do a memorial service for, the deaths being related to driving in failing health.

Dan

elf
09-22-2010, 11:21 AM
The driving test should include navigation. That's where my mother would have failed at age 80 when she could not find her way out of a parking lot without being told which way to turn. My solution, since the Staties wouldn't take her license away, was to move her away from the car. Within two days she no longer remembered that she once drove.

Phillip Allen
09-22-2010, 11:30 AM
How will your minders know when it's time to take your keys away?

Dan

when old folks kill more people on our hiways than young folks do.

David W Pratt
09-22-2010, 11:47 AM
Reminds me of an old joke: I hope I die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the other three people in the car.

leikec
09-22-2010, 11:51 AM
Reminds me of an old joke: I hope I die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the other three people in the car.

Ha!

Jeff C

PhaseLockedLoop
09-22-2010, 11:55 AM
I inherited my grandfather's 1965 pickup when he died in 1978 at age 88, nearly blind. The truck only had 11,000 miles on it, but was covered with dings, dents, and squashed places. The folks in Beemer, NE, (pop 340 or so) where he lived, told me that everybody knew Bob's truck, and got out of the was when they saw him coming. The crushed places were mostly from strikes on farm equipment, fence posts, his garage, and places where the road turned where it used to go straight years before.

andrewe
09-22-2010, 12:12 PM
My maternal grandmother taught herself to drive in the early years of the last century. There is a funny family story about her running arround for 2 or so years before finding out where reverse was. I was an occasional passenger in the early sixties and considered myself lucky to survive... Finaly when 80, she clipped the gatepost and her children decided the car was 'beyond repair' an stopped her. I think she may have been relieved, but being a true victorian, made a lot of noise about it. Another story was when she got into 'her' car at the local railway station and was having trouble starting it. Man knocks on window, "what do you want, young man?" " well madame, you are in my car" " Rediculous! of course it is my car, go about your business" several, chatty, minutes later it became apparent that she was in a same model and colour Austin as hers. This was in the days when your Lucas keys would fit at least two other cars in any given car park. Her's fitted the door, but not the ignition.
Grand lady, best off the road..
A

TomF
09-22-2010, 12:25 PM
Dad voluntarily stopped driving the week after he got a diagnosis of probable early Alzheimer's. He (and my Mom) said that the doctor was clear that in his opinion Dad was still good to go, as the diagnosis was very early and neither Dad's reflexes nor his driving skills/knowledge seemed to be affected.

But Dad said he couldn't live with himself if he did cause an accident, which could conceivably be traced to his disease ... and he wasn't going to put Mom in the position of having an insurance company argue a claim, any claim, for an accident in which he might be involved.

As his disease progressed fairly swiftly, he probably only lost about 2 years of "safe" driving.

Shang
09-22-2010, 01:10 PM
Oh...alright...

When I was but a teenager (with my brain not yet fully formed) I visited my grandfather in Santa Barbara. My grandfather, who was in his nineties, was known to the California Highway Patrol as “Him Again!”
Granddad has been arrested for speeding several times. He paid the fines and went on driving. So they took away his license, and then he was arrested two or three times for driving without a license.
So they impounded his car. However they were unaware that he had another car secreted in a rented garage, and he continued to drive until CHiPs caught up with him and impounded the second car.

About this time I arrived to visit my grandparents. Grandfather asked me to drive him somewhere, he said that he could drive himself but was concerned that the police would shoot him if he was caught driving alone. I pointed out to him that me driving him would be difficult since I had arrived on foot, and he had no car. Not a problem, Grandfather said, and took me to a vacant lot where he had a third car hidden under a tarp. Granddad washed the windshield inside and out while I hand pumped all four tires back to nearly round, and presently we were speeding north on 101 to some unnecessary errand in Goleta, with Grandfather growling under his breath, “Faster…faster…!”

By the grace of fate we were not apprehended by the Highway Patrol since I would probably still be in jail. However I learned something from my Grandfather: Fortune favors the bold.

John of Phoenix
09-22-2010, 01:56 PM
My mother-in-law, rest her Auntie Mame soul, had an accident at age 82. She hit a van that had broken down and pulled to the curb in a no parking zone. It was dusk and she just didn’t see it. The officer was very helpful - she called us on her cell phone and explained what had happened and that Mom had hurt her arm, was flustered and disoriented but was okay otherwise. When we got there, she apologized that she had to issue Mom a ticket - yes, the car was parked illegally but that doesn't mean it's ok to run into it. She got tagged for doing "25 in a zero zone". :D Mom decided to hang up her keys at that point.

My father was a hazard since the day he got his license. He was more of a tourist than a driver. When he was 70 he called me up one day to take him "somewhere" which was very strange as he always drove himself. I asked him where he wanted to go when I picked him up.
"Just over to Tempe."
"Dad, Tempe is a city. Where in Tempe?"
"I'll give you directions."
When we turned into the courthouse parking lot I suspected what was up, but never expected what came next.
“Ok thanks.”
“How are you going to get home?”
He was almost in tears at this point. "I won’t be going home. I’m going to prison. I sideswiped a car and didn't stop. They sent me this summons. I know they're going to send me to prison. I'm going to die in prison."
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Let’s go see the judge, Dad.”
He was surprisingly lenient - a stern lecture, a couple of points and a $300 fine. I really wanted him to snatch the license but no such luck. Dad drove until he went into the nursing home.

Bobby of Tulsa
09-22-2010, 03:29 PM
I just have to ask you guys, Is it worse being old and slow or young and texting. I have been in more close calls with phone users than old people.

Phillip Allen
09-22-2010, 03:56 PM
I just have to ask you guys, Is it worse being old and slow or young and texting. I have been in more close calls with phone users than old people.

I dropped a hint about that but no one picked up on it

The Bigfella
09-22-2010, 04:06 PM
This from our Roads & Traffic Authority:

The most important part of the RTA’s role is to ensure that the NSW roads are as safe as possible. Part of that role involves requiring drivers and riders to undergo annual medical and driving tests upon reaching a certain age.
For all licence holders, annual medical reviews are required from 75 years of age. This is to ensure that older drivers are medically fit and are able to drive competently and safely.
For car drivers and motocycle riders, from the age of 85 a number of licence options exist. Older drivers and riders can opt to have a modified licence or to undertake an assessment every two years from the age of 85 (ie 85, 87, 91 etc) to hold an unrestricted licence.
Heavy vehicle drivers in licence classes LR, MR, HR and HC will need to undertake annual driving assessments from 80 years of age.
For MC licences see the health and medicals (http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/healthmedicals/index.html) page.
Worried about the driving ability of an older driver?

While age is not the sole indicator of driving ability, there is evidence that the skills needed for safe driving begin to deteriorate as we get older, particularly from about 75 years of age. Additionally, conditions such as dementia may affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
If you are concerned about the driving ability of an older driver, the RTA offers some helpful advice and explains some of the options available to deal with this sensitive issue.
Approaching the issue

For many older people, driving has been an important part of their lifestyle for many years and giving up their right to drive can be a serious and upsetting decision.
Please consider the following when addressing this issue:

Make sure that their driving skills really are unsafe.
Like all drivers, the skills and confidence of older drivers vary from person to person. Indicators of unsafe driving include impaired vision, reduced alertness and ability to react quickly. It is important not to mistake cautious and courteous driving for reduced ability to drive.
Be sensitive.
Rather than accusing someone of driving unsafely, talk to them openly and tell them that there are other options available to them.
Help them evaluate their own skills.
It may be more appropriate for the older driver to evaluate their own skills. The RTA produces a comprehensive book entitled 'A guide to older driver licensing' that includes a questionnaire designed to help older drivers assess their own skills.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/renewingalicence/olderdrivers/index.html

htom
09-22-2010, 04:08 PM
I'm not sure that age has much to do with it, good driving seems to be a function of some kind of maturity and experience. Some of us grew up when you could get a farm permit at 12, and then a full driver's license at 14. I'm a little curious about the "young driver accidents" that those individuals had vs the modern practices (I'm not sure what they are now.)

Dad's quit driving (at 95.) He passed, a couple of months ago, a special "senior driving test" that Arizona uses. I don't know if he should have or not. I drove the same car he was driving, and from my watching both of us, the primary differences were that he miss a turn and have to go back, mostly from being in the wrong lane, and he followed too closely. That car ... in some ways a great car (1998 Buick Roadmaster) but the lag in the sludge-o-matic was worse than any turbo lag I ever drove. Push down, grrrrr, wait, wait, wai Move!. Some of his problems I'd attribute to the car. Some of his skill I'll attribute to his life in his 20's and 30's, when he was driving 50k-100k miles per year as a salesman for Deere.

Distractions -- booze, smoke, phone, text, ... all send your driving skills into the dumpster. I suspect that most people are not good enough drivers to notice the diminished skill level.

When I was in high school, driver's training was 20 minutes (three students, one teacher, one hour) five days a week for a half-year. There was also a book class. I suspect there's not nearly the driving time now.

Milo Christensen
09-22-2010, 04:25 PM
I'm a very good driver.

PhaseLockedLoop
09-22-2010, 04:39 PM
Good thing. I pass Lansing twice every week on my way to and from Traverse City. I'm glad to have one less driver I need to apprehensive about.

seanz
09-22-2010, 04:48 PM
He's also a wizz at math.......:D

seanz
09-22-2010, 04:52 PM
I dropped a hint about that but no one picked up on it


The nanny state here has banned mobile-phone use while driving.......come on over. :)


There is a woman here who is still driving at age 104.....she's fine....it's those pesky octogenarians you've got to watch out for.

John Smith
09-22-2010, 04:53 PM
Dad voluntarily stopped driving the week after he got a diagnosis of probable early Alzheimer's. He (and my Mom) said that the doctor was clear that in his opinion Dad was still good to go, as the diagnosis was very early and neither Dad's reflexes nor his driving skills/knowledge seemed to be affected.

But Dad said he couldn't live with himself if he did cause an accident, which could conceivably be traced to his disease ... and he wasn't going to put Mom in the position of having an insurance company argue a claim, any claim, for an accident in which he might be involved.

As his disease progressed fairly swiftly, he probably only lost about 2 years of "safe" driving.

My mom's friend, at 91, just decided it was time, and gave it up. She also moved into an assisted living place, so she had no need to drive.

Many towns offer senior citizen transportation, although I don't know how well that works.

My mom, who was wheelchair bound believed she could drive until the day she died. I would simply put the keys on the table and tell her to go ahead. She couldn't get to the car without help.

I hope when it's time for me that I recognize that it is. Maybe a schedule can be set up with younger members of the family for weekly taking the elderly out for errand running.

Driving is a bit of independence. My grandmother never drove, but she'd go on walks and not know her way home, I can't imagine where she might have gotten herself to with a car.

JBreeze
09-22-2010, 04:55 PM
A very interesting question.
AARP would probably weigh in.
The cars with handicapped tags are almost invariably parked on the yellow lines, not within them. Conversely, it is very rare to see any of teh other cars parked on teh yellow lines. If they can't park, should they be driving?

I'll repeat what I've said before on this topic.....some folks with handicapped tags have physical problems, either needing to fully open their car door to get out, or to make room for a wheelchair or other device. Due to 14 fused of 24 adult vertebrae, I'm one of those people. My driver's side is usually further away from the line than the passenger side, so I can get out of the damn car.

Handicapped spaces are either wider than normal or just regular width spaces with a placard. As for driving abilities, I still have a CDL-A with endorsements. The handicapped tag isn't age dependent.

Looks like we are both a little clumsy today.

John Smith
09-22-2010, 04:57 PM
Oh...alright...

When I was but a teenager (with my brain not yet fully formed) I visited my grandfather in Santa Barbara. My grandfather, who was in his nineties, was known to the California Highway Patrol as “Him Again!”
Granddad has been arrested for speeding several times. He paid the fines and went on driving. So they took away his license, and then he was arrested two or three times for driving without a license.
So they impounded his car. However they were unaware that he had another car secreted in a rented garage, and he continued to drive until CHiPs caught up with him and impounded the second car.

About this time I arrived to visit my grandparents. Grandfather asked me to drive him somewhere, he said that he could drive himself but was concerned that the police would shoot him if he was caught driving alone. I pointed out to him that me driving him would be difficult since I had arrived on foot, and he had no car. Not a problem, Grandfather said, and took me to a vacant lot where he had a third car hidden under a tarp. Granddad washed the windshield inside and out while I hand pumped all four tires back to nearly round, and presently we were speeding north on 101 to some unnecessary errand in Goleta, with Grandfather growling under his breath, “Faster…faster…!”

By the grace of fate we were not apprehended by the Highway Patrol since I would probably still be in jail. However I learned something from my Grandfather: Fortune favors the bold.
A LOT of people drive with suspended licenses. The fact that their license has been suspended says something about whether or not they should be driving. For years, with little support, I've been arguing for vehicles that won't run without a valid license; something you'd perhaps slide through something like the slot you slide a credit card through.

I think that would prevent a lot of accidents. And keep people out of jail, where we have to feed them.

John Smith
09-22-2010, 04:59 PM
I just have to ask you guys, Is it worse being old and slow or young and texting. I have been in more close calls with phone users than old people.

I agree. It's not so much an age thing, but an ability thing.

I don't like driving at night except in areas I know. Or on major highways.

Flying Orca
09-22-2010, 05:00 PM
Dad voluntarily stopped driving the week after he got a diagnosis of probable early Alzheimer's. [snip] Dad said he couldn't live with himself if he did cause an accident, which could conceivably be traced to his disease ... and he wasn't going to put Mom in the position of having an insurance company argue a claim, any claim, for an accident in which he might be involved.

I would just like to say bravo to your dad, and that it's clear where you got at least some of your good sense and consideration for others.

rbgarr
09-22-2010, 05:21 PM
Mother and m-i-l each still driving at 90 and 92. Both do 'okay', neither drives at night (their eyes can't cope with oncoming headlights) but all of us children are so concerned that they will end up dead or in hospital (not to mention injuring others) before they agree to stop. With lawsuits ensuing it would be a hell of a situation all the way around for everybody.

Finding alternative drivers who will drive them in their cars is a first step and is succeeding at getting them used to the idea. There are communication, scheduling and expense issues however. Public transportation is so uneven that it's not viable for either of them.

It's not the everyday driving that's the issue, or being slow or not very good at parking; it's that one occasion when quick reactions will be required to avoid a danger or sudden mistake by someone (anyone) else. Driving only on roads you know is likely a false security also. Most accidents happen with twenty five miles of home where most driving takes place (obviously). As we all age we just don't have the reaction speed we used to, and they get worse over time. Scary. Even I don't and notice that my eyesight isn't as good as it once was as well, so I took a defensive driving course, and through it learned/reinforced alot: http://www.aarpdriversafety.org/

A survey asked people of all ages for definitions of 'old'. The answer is usually 'Older than me', even from people in their eighties: 'Ninety is old.' :o

Stu Fyfe
09-23-2010, 06:59 PM
We took Mom's keys this past April. Hardest thing I ever had to do with her. Minor accidents, frequently getting lost, weaving across the lines and into the shoulder. Before we did it, I wanted as much backup as possible. We had a neuro-psych evaluation which confirmed our fears, early dementia/ Alzheimers. Her IQ had diminished considerably. We had a dinner with my brother, sister, wife and Mom. We did an intervention, told her our concerns and set a date for her to hand over the keys. I made arrangement for a twice weekly care-giver/driver, plus we live only two miles away. When the day came it was ugly. She tried everything she could to change our minds. Pleading, sobbing, swearing. At one point she told me I wasn't invited to her funeral! When her physician agreed that she should not drive, she accused him of being part of the conspiracy that I was the leader of. Some of her comments were "But I haven't killed anyone", "You stole my car", "I'm better now, can I have my car back?" " I don't want to see anybody I'm just going to sit here till I die". It's been six months and she hasn't accepted it yet.

Peter Kalshoven
09-24-2010, 07:40 PM
There's always the old "remove the battery...oh, damn, the car is broken" technique if you can't get the keys away.

But the biggest fear is loss of independence. If you can find a way for a senior to stay mobile on something close to their own terms, that really lessens the blow.

And finally, there's the old argument: "What, you want to keep driving until you kill a kid, and THEN you'll quit? It's time."

huisjen
09-24-2010, 08:30 PM
Here's the Bangor Daily News article on the event that triggered this thread.

http://www.bangordailynews.com/story/Midcoast/Four-injured-one-fatally-in-Searsport-accident,153975

The driver died of a heart attack. He had it, then lingered for a day or so, and died in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The memorial service for his wife had already been planned for Thursday, Rev. Sara presiding. It leaves you to wonder: Was it the physical stress of the accident that triggered it, or the emotional stress of killing his wife through a car crash when he shouldn't have been driving? It's not necessarily some random kid you don't know who's going to get killed. My heart goes out to the family.

Dan

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 09:24 AM
I would still like to see a post that examins the FATAL accident rates between very young drivers and elderly drivers...

oznabrag
09-25-2010, 09:29 AM
I would still like to see a post that examins the FATAL accident rates between very young drivers and elderly drivers...

You could make that post yourself, Phil!

Take a half-hour with Google and lay out the truth for us, eh?

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 09:34 AM
You could make that post yourself, Phil!

Take a half-hour with Google and lay out the truth for us, eh?

I'm dissapointed that our "smart" folks here aren't interested in a realistic comparison. I am tempted to think it is a kind of laziness in trying to avoid having to drive the kids to school when they can just turn the little killers loose and count on the law of averages to protect their little princes and princesses

oznabrag
09-25-2010, 09:40 AM
Dammit, Phil! Step up to the plate and own the fact that YOU are one of the smart folks here!

Maybe YOU are the one who's being lazy?

Go find the research to back up your assertions, and rock us back on our heels, man!

Just do it!

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 09:53 AM
the whole point of "my" excercise was to see how many would pick up on the hint...none did

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 10:00 AM
ages 15-24 is slightly higher than 75+...here's where I looked but I couldn't get a c and p to work
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5807a1.htm

rbgarr
09-25-2010, 10:09 AM
Passive-aggressive Phil strikes again! Glad I'm not the one who'll have to deal with getting him to stop driving.|;)

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 10:32 AM
Passive-aggressive Phil strikes again! Glad I'm not the one who'll have to deal with getting him to stop driving.|;)

so...what do you think about the "stats"...looks like no one should drive before the age of 25...

rbgarr
09-25-2010, 11:29 AM
Then according to your link and logic, if an average death rate of 25 out of 100,000 is too high for you, then EVERY driver in Arkansas, Montana and Wyoming should have their keys taken away! Just drop them and your vehicle off at a deserving charity. The walking will do you good. |;)

Phillip Allen
09-25-2010, 12:27 PM
Then according to your link and logic, if an average death rate of 25 out of 100,000 is too high for you, then EVERY driver in Arkansas, Montana and Wyoming should have their keys taken away! Just drop them and your vehicle off at a deserving charity. The walking will do you good. |;)

you begin to see the point...