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Taking Away Driver's License?
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Taking Away Driver's License?

My Dad is 84 years old and still drives. We think he is a hazzard on the roads, as his reaction time is so very slow and he panics so easily.  Do you think we could speak with his doctor about this?  My concern is can the doctor even speak with me about this, without my Dad's permission?  Is there any agency to whom we should report him, although I would HATE to "turn him in" - I know it's just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

HELP
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82861_tn?1333457511
Oh boy, are you bringing back bad memories of what we went through with my grandfather.  He was still driving (or something like it) at 93, and very proud of it he was too.  Each state handles these things a little differently, so you'll need to check the statutes in your area.  Maybe a call to your local DMV?

Here in Texas, you have to have a doctor put it in writing that a person can no longer safely drive.  There is very wide latitude in that determination.  While grandpa had had some small fender-benders, one time he decided to get on the busiest freeway in Houston using the exit ramp.  :-O  Even reporting that to his doctor did not convince him to get involved.  Then, the doctor told grandpa that his family was trying to take away his license!  You can imagine the shitestorm that ensued.    We tried to go directly to TX state offices, but to no avail.  He kept driving until the last 6 months of his life when prostate cancer invaded his brain.  We buried his drivers license with him.  :-)

These situations are just awful when the senior refuses to give it up.  I can understand it.  For many, that's their last sense of real freedom.  BUT, it's also a matter of public safety.  If you think his doctor can keep his trap shut, you might try that route first to discover exactly what the requirements are to void his license.  While HIPPA rules prevent doctors from telling family anything without patient consent, the reverse is not true.  The docs are under no obligation to withhold from the patient any information that the family gives him.  It's a judgment call.

If your dad has had any documented accidents, you may want to collect the official court paperwork on that to help prove your case if it gets to that point.

Sometimes seniors won't listen to alarmed family members, but they will if a doctor "suggests" they shouldn't drive any longer.  Any chance of that happening in your situation?  More importantly, have you spoken to your dad about it yet?  It's also possible he's ready to stop driving, but doesn't want to ask family for rides.  If you haven't had that discussion yet, give it a try.  At least give him a chance to feel like it's HIS decision to stop driving.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Hi Pam,

Thank you for posting. I am so sorry that you are faced with this concern. It's one we often have to consider as our loved ones age.

Luckily my father gave up driving with some instances from me. As Jaybay said I let it be his decision. He is 81. He still retains his vehicle and his licenses which allows him to feel independent and beleive falsely that some day he may drive again. I think it is important to allow them that "hope" as long as they do not drive. However if he tried to drive I would than have to take other steps.

In my state you must pass an eye test every few years. At that time you are assessed at least to some degree by "looking" to determine if you appear fit to still operate a MV.

When I took my son to get his license their was an elderly gentleman that could not even understand the directions to take th eye exam. He could not hear and could not even bring the test machine to his eyes. He failed miserably. The examiner could not compensate his license as he still had a month left before the expired. However she instructed him to return with a completed form from his physician attesting to the fact that he was able to safely operate a vehicle. He also had to have the eye exam done by an opthamologist.

I "turned" the guy in but there was nothing that could be done until he failed the test or his physician deemed him unsafe to drive. I watched him struggle to get behind the wheel and drive down the road at 15 miles and hour, often over the line.

If it were my father I would contact his treating physician. He may be able to do something. You are correct that his physician can not discuss your father with you, based on the HIPPA laws. However nothing stops you from talking to his physician and giving him your opinion.

My heart goes out to you. You are in a difficult position. But please protect us. You and your father would feel terrible if he injured someone.

Please let us know how this turns out for you. Best of luck.

~Tuck
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549511_tn?1271779530
We have a road traffic authority you can report to,and your name isnt told to the person that you are concerned about.Can you speak to your local police or where you obtain a drivers licence from? If you do have that they may even take him for a driving test.It the last of there indepedance and when that taken away it must be so hard for them,but you have to protect him and the other road users.Hope this has been of some help to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Pam--
I'm new to this forum so just read your post. Is your Dad still driving?

Some hospitals offer a driver's evaluation through their Occupational Therapy department. It's simulated in a machine-type setting, but they test brake response time, dexterity, whether you can adequately judge distances, etc. There is a charge for this, at least there was where my Mom went a few years back (about $100, if I recall correctly), and Medicare and insurance didn't cover it. They do not determine you cannot legally drive, but they provide a written report for your physician as to whether they think driving is OK or not. If your Dad would be open to this, that's something to consider as well. It gives hard data and you're not the "bad guy."  

The one my Mother took a few years ago (she did this twice, 10 years apart) also included a written test and she had to study a manual, like you do when you go for your temporary license. It looks at whether you know and can remember signs and other traffic laws, which is a very good thing.

Take care,
Yvette
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547368_tn?1332173665
Welcome to our Caregivers Forum!

Thank you so much for that information. It is valuable. I think every sate offers a bit different options. In our state the physician must complete a form if requested by DMV. Otherwise the person can drive as long as he or she can pass the eye test.

Your license are good for six years. Unfortunately a lot can happen to a person, especially an eighty year old in six years. Indeed a lot can happen to any age person in six years!!

There has to be a better way and it sounds like your state has found it.

In our state they can't make a 65 year old do anymore to qualify for licenses then they can do to a 30 year old.

My Best to You,
~Tuck
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