Is it Time to Take Away an Elderly Parent's Car Keys?
It's hard to convince an elderly parent to give up driving. In many locations, it would be akin to giving up one's independence. But there comes a time when it has to be done.
As we age, our reaction times slow and our eyesight worsens. Statistics even show we develop limited mobility in the neck. Once an elderly driver hits age 65, his chances of getting into an accident while making a left turn increase by 8% every year.
The number one issue here is safety, particularly that of your parents and their passengers. They are the most likely to be fatally injured in a car cash, according to Slate. Moreover, the numbers indicate the chances of this happening increase at the age of 70. When an elderly driver hits 80, there's another marked jump.
In addition to safety, there are some legal issues you need to consider. Adult children can't be held legally responsible for a parent unless there is a conservatorship. However, elderly drivers who ignore pleas to stop driving may find themselves sacked with a lawsuit their insurance may not even cover.
Evidence that a driver knew he shouldn't have been on the road can be used to win punitive damages. Large jury awards can lead to the loss of a home and savings. Your parent may end up having to live with you. There's no independence in that.
If it's time to take an elderly driver's keys, be strong -- he or she will resist. Just remind your parent that there are options out there and you are committed to helping him or her live independently.
- 'Families on the Brink:' Elderly Drivers Balance Independence and Safety (ABC News)
- Driving While Elderly: New Accidents Raise Old Questions (Chicago Personal Injury Law)
- Older Drivers and Licensing: What Does Your State's Law Say? (FindLaw's Injured)