Elderly driving and the difficult decision on when it's time to retire from the driver's seat

Posted at 9:48 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 23:48:53-05

Kirk Sullivan lives in a retirement community where can still drive his golf cart on private property.  But this is the only driving Sullivan does since his legs were injured about three years ago. 

"The impulse is there, the desire to go do something you have done all your life, then you don't get to do it," said Sullivan.

After the accident Sullivan gave up his license on his own but he understands why many refuse.

"You have to depend on someone else… It's one of the toughest decisions a family will ever make."

This is a type of problem Triple-A see all the time, kids finding themselves telling their parents they need to stop driving.

"Boy that's nasty language to a senior that's lived their whole life behind the wheel," Said Dave Carlson of Triple-A.

The problem is, seniors who must renew their license every 4 years after age 65, don’t have to take an on-road driving test. Infact, Sullivan got his license renewed after his legs were injured.

"With two walking sticks, I hobbled in and propped against a wall and a few minutes later had my driver's license and hobbled out.”  When asked if he was surprised he got is license he simply said “yes.”

There are options for concerned family members that know their loved one is dangerous on the road. 

Experts say it all starts with a polite conversation and education.  The AARP offers a class for seniors that includes a driving self evaluation.

"That means it's them doing it and not someone else saying you're not a good driver. " Said Bill Robison, AARP Driving Instructor. 

After successfully completing the class, seniors can get a break on auto insurance.

Triple-A has an online test for reaction time. If a senior fails them all and still refuses to stop driving there are still options. You can send a letter to the DMV recommending that a parent not be issued a license.  But remember, the letter won’t be anonymous which could cause problems within your family.