On September 19, 2012, Captain Jay Randall gave an excellent presentation on elderly driving and knowing when to stop.
He said that it is a very difficult decision to give up driving as it means giving away your independence. He urged people to make the decision themselves. You need to put both your stubbornness and independence on the shelf to do a self-evaluation. He said that safe drivers require the complex coordination of many different skills. The physical and mental changes that accompany aging can diminish the abilities of elderly drivers. These include:
- A slowdown to response time
- A loss of clarity in vision and hearing
- A loss of muscle strength and flexibility
- Drowsiness due to medication
- A reduction in the ability to focus or concentrate
- Lower tolerance for alcohol
Taken separately, none of these changes automatically means that elderly drivers should stop. Captain Randall provided us with an excellent checklist on safe elderly driving which you can download a copy here. Please fill one out and honestly make your own evaluation. He also noted that there are many ways for older drivers to adjust so they are not a danger to themselves or others. Among them are:
- Avoid driving at night and, if possible at dawn or dusk
- Drive only to familiar locations
- Avoid driving to places far away from home
- Avoid Interstates and rush hour
- Leave plenty of time to get where they are going
- Don't drive alone
Utah has an Unsafe Driver Form (DI117) that you can use to report your concern for the safety of a loved one or friend. The form is available online on the Utah DMV website. Your doctor can also send a request to the DMV to revoke your driver's license if they feel you are unsafe to drive.
You can listen to an audio recording of Capt. Randall's presentation here.