Tips: When should an older adult stop driving?

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by Kyle Iboshi, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on November 8, 2012 at 10:48 AM

PORTLAND -- It's a difficult question for many families: When do you take the keys away from mom or dad in their older years?

Several recent crashes have drawn attention to senior drivers.

Statistics show that older drivers don't crash as often as younger ones. But they also drive less. Experts warn that age isn't the sole indicator of driving ability. Seniors should consider vision, reflexes, hearing and flexibility.

"A lot of people would like to subscribe to age 65 or age 75 or age 78 or whatever, but there really is none, because we all age differently," said Betty-Coe R. de Broekert of AARP Driver Safety.

Experts urge family members to look for warning signs. Are other driver's honking at mom or dad? Are they getting lost or confused? Are they veering into the wrong lane? Have you noticed any new dents or scratches on the car? How about near-misses?

"First thing you've got to do is observe. You need to ride with that person and see how the driving really is," said de Broekert.

Asking your aging parents to give up the keys can be emotional for the driver and family members. It should be a long, ongoing conversation. Experts suggest to stay focused on the positive, talk about safety and find alternative forms of transportation, including mass transit.

In Oregon, seniors must renew their license, including vision screening, every eight years. Doctors are required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles if they detect an impaired driver. Police, friends and family can also report unsafe drivers.

The issue will continue to grow. By 2030, nearly one-in-five drivers will be over the age of 65.

More information can be found online, at these websites:

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