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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, July 22, 2013

States Still not Solving the Problem of Elderly Drivers

This past week, AOL posted an interesting article on senior driving.  Ten years ago, an 86 year old man drove through a farmer's market in California, killing 10 people and injuring 63 others in less than a minute.  Although thankfully these accidents are rare, AOL reported that the United States still hasn't found a way to handle the problem of aging drivers.  And this problem could get much worse as the baby boomers get older and keep driving.

In the U.S., the issue is dealt with on a state level or on a grassroots basis, and while there has been a big increase in the number of people fixing the problem, there is still a lot of work to be done.  One of the biggest issues is deciding when someone should no longer drive.  People age differently, for example one 80 year old might be vibrant and active while another suffers from dementia, so banning drivers after a certain age would simply be unfair.  However there still needs to be a solution.

Until the U.S., or each individual state, develops a solution, we must continue to rely on self-regulating.  This includes children monitoring their parents driving.  Although this can be a tough topic to start a conversation about, having one may prevent an accident.  If you are looking for a way to start this conversation, visit an older blog post of ours, Hanging up the Keys, for tips and advice on how to have this conversation.  Be gentle with your delivery, and be prepared to offer alternatives.  Start by planting the seed and seeing if they make small decisions that show they are thinking about not driving.  Your parents may be open to this change, but remember that driving is a symbol of independence for them.  Be gentle to start, but if that doesn't work you may have to lay down the law and let them know it is a matter of life or death.

To read the complete article on AOL, click here.


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