If you find yourself in the position of talking to an older family member or friend about their driving, approach the issue with sensitivity. A driver’s license signifies more than the ability to drive a car; it is a symbol of freedom and self-sufficiency. Understandably, driving is not a privilege that anyone wants to relinquish willingly.
Some older drivers may be aware of their faltering ability, but still be reluctant to give up driving completely. Another person’s concerns may force the senior driver to act. They may even feel relieved to have someone else help make the decision to stop driving. Some seniors may forget that they aren’t supposed to drive. If that is the case, it is even more important to remove the car or the keys to make it impossible to drive.
When a driver refuses to give up the keys
Sometimes an older driver has to be stopped from driving over their objections. It might feel very difficult for you to make this call, especially if the senior is a parent or other close figure used to having their independence. However, their safety and the safety of others must come first. An unsafe driver can seriously injure or kill themselves or others.
If appropriate evaluations and recommendations have been made and no amount of rational discussion has convinced the senior to hand over the car keys, then you may make an anonymous report to the Department of Motor Vehicles or recruit the family physician to write a prescription to stop driving. In some cases, there is a need to take further actions such as taking away the car keys, selling or disabling the car, and enlisting the local police to explain the importance of safe driving and the legal implications of unsafe driving.