Helping senior drivers to make a tough decision: hanging up the keys

Good Morning America has been airing a series on aging and one of the difficult topics they are tackling is the issue of senior driving. In Mom & Dad, we need to talk, they explore the ways that adult children can help their parents make the difficult and often painful decision to hang up the car keys.
It’s not an issue that should be put off because, at some point, it’s a matter of safety – both for the elderly drivers and for the general public. GMA cites some grim statistics:

“Although most senior citizens are careful behind the wheel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers older than 70 have a higher fatality rate per mile than any other group, except people under 25. And most of those fatalities happened at some kind of crossroads.
A 2007 study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that 40 percent of serious crashes at intersections involved people older than 70. Add to this the fact that the number of elderly drivers is projected to double to 70 million by the year 2030 and you have the makings of a potentially dangerous problem.”

They also publicize AARP’s 10 warning signs for when to limit or stop driving.

  1. Almost crashing, with frequent “close calls”
  2. Finding dents and scrapes on the car, on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, or the like
  3. Getting lost
  4. Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings
  5. Responding more slowly to unexpected situations, or having trouble moving your foot from the gas to the brake pedal; confusing the two pedals
  6. Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps
  7. Experiencing road rage or having other drivers frequently honk at you
  8. Easily becoming distracted or having difficulty concentrating while driving
  9. Having a hard time turning around to check over your shoulder while backing up or changing lanes
  10. Receiving traffic tickets or “warnings” from traffic or law enforcement officers in the last year or two