When should a senior driver stop driving?
How do I report dangerous senior drivers? When should a senior stop driving? Who makes the choice to stop a senior driver from driving? These are questions that come up a lot. Unfortunately, there is no good answer.
In Lee County, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers we have a very large senior population. If you have ever driven in our area there are a lot of bad drivers to begin with. This high number of bad drivers can be due to a large population of tourists unsure of the area, soccer moms in a hurry to get the kids, or just plain lack of courtesy. Young or old, all bad and/or impaired drivers can be a threat and danger to themselves and the population surrounding them.
Seniors get a bad reputation of being unsafe drivers.
The reality is seniors are actually less likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than those 35 to 54 according to a recent IIHS study. This is contrary to the dangerous senior drivers myth.
That’s why Abby Services (in-home caregivers for seniors) works with the LCSO (Lee County Sheriff’s Office) on a program called Car-fit.s
What is CarFit?
CarFit is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them. Carfit is sponsored by the AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association), AAA (The American Automobile Association), and AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons).
The CarFit program provides information and materials on community-specific resources that could enhance seniors’ safety as drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community.
At a CarFit event, a team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with each participant to ensure they “fit” their vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety. A CarFit check takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. These events happen throughout the community.
According to the CarFit website, “Older drivers are often the safest drivers in that they are more likely to wear their seatbelts, and less likely to speed or drink and drive. However, older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when a crash does occur due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies.
Driver safety programs improve adult driver safety by addressing cognitive abilities and skills, however, older drivers can also improve their safety by ensuring their cars are properly adjusted for them. A proper fit in one’s car can greatly increase not only the driver’s safety but also the safety of others.”
Sometimes CarFit just insn't enough.
Despite being largely safe drivers, friends, neighbors, or family members, may identify signs of dangerous senior drivers.
In these cases, a senior’s ability to drive safely can be evaluated by a medical professional and required by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Forms can be submitted anonymously that will in turn require an evaluation. The button below takes you to the process followed and the forms necessary to share your concerns about unsafe senior drivers.
After the evaluation there are options for dangerous senior drivers who lose the right to drive.
Sometimes dangerous senior drivers will be required, or wish, to be evaluated further. In those instances, trained driving safety professionals conduct an evaluation to demonstrate a senior driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Here is one local option: The Stephen Emerson Driving School. There are also occupational therapists who specialize in driving rehab. They can be found here.
Together with family, and resources such as Abby Services Senior Care, there are many options.