Watching your parents age is tough. Those people who loomed larger than life, who seemed to be able to solve all of life’s problems, are no longer what they once were. There is neither bad nor good to this: it’s just life. Aging sucks.

But what about your elder parents and driving?

I don’t think any of our four parents should be driving as they once did.

There. I said it.

I don’t think any of the parents should be on highways or driving at night.

I’m guessing this would be an unpopular opinion for anyone who might be older than me, but really

  1. slower reflexes
  2. eyesight not quite as good
  3. thinking they can make turns and merge the same way they were once able

I’m not being mean, or petty, I’m just stating the facts. I’ve been in cars with them. I will no longer get in a car with any of them driving. Period.

So this leads me to my next point:

I understand that it is not feasible to have people over a certain age take driving tests. Plus, I get the whole age discrimination thing…

but…

Should people over the age of 75 be required to have some sort of dashboard monitor or app to monitor their driving?

While I get that accidents happen to everyone of every age, and that those between the ages of 16 and 20 are most likely to get into accidents, there is a case to be made that older drivers do get involved in more accidents than those who are younger (meaning 50s and 60s)

I’m aware that you can anonymously send a complaint to DMV stating that someone should not be driving, and that DMV will ask for a retest, but is that the best way to handle the issue?

What do you think about people over 75 driving? Do you think there should be retests after a certain time? Do you think drivers over 75 should be required to have a driving monitor?

Discuss

79 thoughts on “Driving Monitor

  1. Maybe everyone should have to have a monitor or an app on their dashboard! It strikes me that many of your senators and congressmen/women, plus your president and only currently declared candidate for your next president all fall in that age category! Maybe require driving tests of people over a certain age?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can’t have required retests. Just not enough resources to do that. But I’m just looking at things realistically. Plus, in the case of my mil, she was told not to drive by her doctor. He can’t make her not drive. And it’s a very grey area as to what he can tell authorities. But as I don’t drive, I say monitor them all

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can be retested if someone makes a complaint about you. But really ..the DMV is overtaxed as it is. Can you imagine restesting in southern states here?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It depends on where the diagnosis is. If it’s early, it’s a recommendation to the patient. By more advanced stages someone has probably petitioned the court by then. What people do is either petition the court to have someone declared not competent, or the anonymous letter thing. There’s always two sides to everything, including privacy

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      3. Sounds like privacy laws gone too far. I understand the doctor can’t disclose private details of a medical condition but here in Canada—at least in Ontario—they are required by law to report anyone who should not be driving to the ministry of transportation for review.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, I’m not over 75 yet, but I am older than you, so…I hate driving at night or dark early mornings and avoid both if I can. It began to be noticeable before cataract surgery years ago, but I realized even with that issue taken care of I simply don’t feel comfortable driving when it’s dark. Add rain into that and my anxiety levels increase exponentially. Add dark roads- I’m just staying home. I also really don’t like driving in new locations, especially big cities. There’s too much going on and when you add no familiarity with the place itself your attention is not focused where it should be. I do an AARP safe driving course (by choice) every 2 years. I began that just to get a discount on auto insurance after my divorce. Every time I renew I am reminded of something important or learn something new. I think as we grow older we have to be willing to admit that skills fade. It would be hard to anticipate not driving when I reach 75 and while I don’t see myself not driving based on skills inadequacy I have to realize it might be possible. I know *independence* is the big issue and many of us don’t want to admit we are changing. I am aware at least that the time will come and I have to be willing to accept that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. See? You handled this logically and reasonably and are proactive in what you do. If everyone were like you in this regard I wouldn’t worry as much. But this is a real issue especially given an aging populace

      Liked by 3 people

      1. But there’s also a lot of layers to this LA… things like what options are in place for older folks (public transit, shuttles, even available family members), cost of those things, the seniors awareness of how to get aid/help/access to services versus driving- and all those are impacted by where they live as well, the time involved in researching all this, the fear of both agers and family…the list goes on and on as you know. So is this decision one left to families or are we going to ask local, state, federal governments to step in with mandates? Aging and related resources are not always priorities no matter who is making the decisions.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I know. I get all that completely. But how much do we factor the safety of others? You know I’m a huge fan of public transportation and advocate that there should be more of it. After a certain age there should be van service …we have something like that here if you meet certain qualifications. But we always seem to find ways to not think about the stuff that impacts our daily lives and go in fishing expeditions for crap

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  3. You had me off checking requirements in the UK. Anyone over 70 has to reapply every 3 years for their driving license. There is no test, but I guess it’s something. I appreciate everyone ages at different rates, but anyone driving has a responsibility to the other road users to keep them safe too. I don’t see why we can’t have capability testing … maybe to.avoud discrimination it shouldn’t be attached to age per se

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree that it should be handled better…hence this post. But should we also take personal responsibility? Like Deb stated, she goes to an aarp thing every few years and she monitors herself. We have to let our egos stand down sometimes

      Liked by 3 people

  4. My mother sensibly stopped driving at 70 but my mother in law drove until she was 90. While she had plenty of scrapes in the car she fortunately never hurt anyone, not even herself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll just step back and and toss this out on the monitor aspect- my specific insurance company USAA also has an app program that monitors driving in general- for anyone. It again is tied to discounts on ins. premiums for *good* driving, but that is mostly focused on how often you break suddenly and more focused on what you are or aren’t doing with your cell phone while driving. I tried it for a bit and was told I don’t drive enough to get an accurate profile- plus I never take my phone out of my purse when I’m driving so I just cancelled and removed the app. I see the point of apps/monitors but I think older people would balk at them being mandatory based on an imprecise age designation. It seems to be one of those “until they hurt themselves or others enough times” sort of situations that basically means nothing will happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you can’t get insurance without one, I think it would work. Like anyone under 21 has to have one. Anyone who has ever gotten a dwi has to have one, and anyone with two accidents within a short time frame or three accidents in five years. Something like that. But we have to consider things that impact the safety of others

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All great and logical ideas, but the pessimist in me says people will just drive without insurance, continue to drink and drive anyway, etc. It’s absolutely a start but long term looking at costs, implementation, continued funding, agencies that will monitor and enforce… It’s another legislative item that will be tabled for something “more important”.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. It depends on the person. We have a 92-year-old friend who still drives and drives well. My 93-year-old great-aunt had to finally give up driving when she caused an accident. My father-in-law gave up driving at age 85 (his decision). In Spain, drivers are tested every two years after 80. Having said that, there are 50-year-olds who shouldn’t be on the road.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My dad terrifies me when he drives. He got a new EV car and loves it. He insisted during a recent visit to his house that I drive home with him after dinner with me and my husband. I did NOT want to get in his car, but I did. He immediately tried to make a left turn with oncoming traffic. I screamed. Next, he went to change lanes and didn’t see the car in that lane. I screamed again. He turns 91 Friday. As far as insurance, I can’t tell you how many times we got hit or bumped in CA by people with no insurance — and it’s mandatory to have insurance.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. LOL. My dad scares the crap out of me. He keeps telling me he is going to drive out for a visit (2,000 miles). NO! When I go for a visit I drive them around. During my last visit he was driving and blew through a stop sign – didn’t even see it. I’m your age and try to avoid driving at night when possible, aspecially if it is raining. Wait, it doesn’t rain here, hardly.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband and his sister had a massive argument about this re his mother. My husband was like you, wanting to keep dignity. My sil was all about how unsafe it was. It wasn’t pretty

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree there should be something done but yes, it’s complicated. As someone mentioned there is not public transportation provided everywhere so if the elderly don’t have family around how do they get around?
    But yes, any age can be unsafe drivers. A lady rushing to work hit my son’s friend who was walking, broke her femur and tibia. Had 3 surgeries so far. People can be so careless!
    Eversince I had cataracts I haven’t felt safe driving at night and avoid it when I can.
    I think ir boils down to people having to be responsible. Though I know that still doesn’t fix things especially with some older people who are losing their memory and may not realize how dangerous they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Here in Canada, you have to attend a driving seminar over the age of 80, which includes a vision test. If you get in an accident which is your fault over 80 yr, you must go for a physical driving re-test. I believe it is mandatory for doctors here to report patients to the ministry of transportation who should not be driving. if they have advised the patient not to drive and they continue to do so. There’s also a legal liability issue. There was a case a few years ago where an 84 year old with a visually impaired eye condition hit and killed a girl at a school crossing, with the crossing guard holding up a sign for traffic to stop and plenty of horrified witnesses. She fought it in court, as she said the eye doctor never told her she couldn’t drive?? She said she did not see the girl at all….but if you have macular degeneration you lose central vision. Also, no one can drive for a month after a heart attack, or hip surgery etc. My mother voluntarily gave up her license at age 87 after her last hip surgery – although she probably could still have driven around her village, she had lost her confidence. I worry more about the number of people driving drunk or high on drugs, as I see their names in the paper, often repeat offenders, 2 or 3 times over the legal limit, or high on fentanyl and meth.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I have so much to say about this. I think we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle over here in the United States by creating terms like ageism. On the one hand, I understand that ageism is a thing and that the elderly are oftentimes discriminated against and taken advantage of. However, I think that we fear being ageist, and in that, we ignore basic common realities that are rooted in biology. The older you get the more things change… body parts start breaking down, you can’t see as well as you used to, and that affects how well you do many things, such as drive a car.

    My grandmother will be 97 this year and she still drives two hours from her house to Chicago. Do you know what that looks like??? Anywho, I’ve given this very long answer to say that yes there should be measures in place for people who reach a certain age if they want to participate in society in specific types of ways. The same way we don’t want a five year old driving a car is the same way it might not be a good idea for someone over 80 to be driving either.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Kathy I agree that rules and restrictions should apply to many situations. And health is something that oftentimes depends on the individual. My father in his 80’s was sharp as a tack. He drove and had no problem. But I know many people that age who shouldn’t be on the road. I think renewal tests, vision tests etc. are necessary for the safety of others. My state does have in person renewal tests and vision tests for senior citizens.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My mil lives in Florida. My husband was told there are no renewal tests. Good thing my sister in law hired someone to help them…😆 thanks for that

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lesley, I think you make a great point. All 80+ year olds are not the same and annual exams or something like that would help to determine who should and should not be on the road.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well said. We have to accept aging, and that there is a decline in certain areas as we age. There are still signs in nyc busses to give up a seat to seniors….there are things I don’t do as well as I’ve aged. It’s neither bad nor good but a fact of life

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am 70. I do kind of pride myself on being kind of sharp, but there is a noticeable drop off from my 20’s to now. I would not mind taking an annual driving test after 75, or frankly now. I don’t consider that discriminatory. I think it is a safety issue. There can be a very wide cognitive difference between people at any age, but as we age there are more and more factors to consider. Maybe some of our professional, long-term politicians should be tested too!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. It’s a difficult question because driving represents independance and, here in North America our public transit is pitiful so driving is essential. My mum is 90 and she still drives, although she doesn’t go far. Many 80 and 90 year olds are very sharp and capable of driving. Some sort of monitoring would be good but I’m not sure what the right answer is.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a sticky issue and I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” solution. There are certainly privacy and “big brother” issues. I think the less the government is involved in our lives the better off we are. In a perfect world, everyone would realize when it is time to forgo certain activities. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. It is hard to give up independence and acknowledge aging.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. It’s hard watching her lose her edge . She’s regressing mentally since she hasn’t been working , though she is fighting it. Today she has to go fight social security to reduce her Medicare bill. Sucks that she has to worry about money at her age .

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I felt confident driving at age 75, but I quit driving at night. I would drive now at 80 if one eye settled down so that I could get glasses. I think seniors should be tested regularly. You may not be aware that you don’t react quickly or that your night vision is poor. I’ve read several times recently that older people are much more likely to die in a car accident than younger ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I answered this blog early this morning but it must not have gone through. In Florida they do have restrictions after certain ages. I know after 80 renewals are monitored. For me after I turned 70 I was required to renew my license in person and take a required vision test right on the spot. It was a pain not to do it on line but I did it in person and it was fine. There is indeed something that happens where night driving becomes difficult after a certain age. I remember when my father stopped driving at night. If people won’t take care to keep tabs on their health, then I have no problem with more frequent tests for older drivers. I think sometimes we have to make wise decisions about safety. This isn’t discrimination if it’s done properly. I can tell you there certainly is age discrimination out there. I didn’t notice it much until I lost my hair from chemo and it grew back gray. (It didn’t make sense for me to color it ad put toxins back into y skin when I’m in cancer treatment). But I do look older. So what? However, if I become a safety hazard to be out on the road then I’ll stop driving. I am not insulted by testing. And I’m not an idiot. I take medication because of my health. So, I’m not going to endanger myself or others by driving when I shouldn’t.
    I don’t drive myself to my oncologist’s office. It’s too far and I’m too wiped out after all day chemo treatments. But, I do drive locally. However, I am realistic about my short comings. While it’s frustrating sometimes to not have a 30 year old body any more, I can’t stress about aging. I’m fortunate to still be around. If I have to go far I will take an Uber. I took an Uber to my 50th high school reunion which was at a hotel on the beach. No way was I going to drive in that mess. We need to be smart about our choices.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly it. We have to be smart about our choices and realize our bodies are not the same as they once were. And to be fair, just because one thinks they’re still a good driver doesn’t mean they are still a good driver

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  17. I admit the idea of dashboard monitors creeps me out (although I know they are coming, for all of us, in the name of safety). But I agree that older people do lose their ability to quickly respond to situations when they are driving. It’s so hard to tell our parents when it’s time to quit! In my case, when Mom moved to an independent living facility, that was a natural time to suggest giving up the car, since she didn’t really need it anymore. It also cost to rent garage space, so we pointed out the savings of getting rid of her car: no personal property tax, no insurance, no gas and maintenance. I am, however, very much in favor of anyone over 75 having to renew their driver’s license, with a driving test, every year.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You frequently hear people say something about not wanting to take away older people’s “freedoms,” but when it’s potentially dangerous to others, it would seem to me logical to do just that…but to look at it as not taking away a freedom, intead, possibly saving a life. It’s a no brainer that as we age, our ability to react quickly is reduced. Unfortunately, monitoring this would be very difficult. And deciding the right age to do this could be challenging.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Although I agree that mandatory testing should be… well… mandatory, I remember reading somewhere that older adults are less likely to get in an accident than those in their late teens/early twenties. Perhaps both ends of the age spectrum should be included. Although I’ve never received a ticket in the many, many years I’ve been driving, I have found that I have grown to hate night driving and crazy freeway driving. My eyes and reflexes just ain’t what they used to be.

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