• Dec 16, 2013
Worrying about an elderly family member driving can be stressful, but as The New York Times reports there are alternatives to hiding the keys.

Driving rehabilitation specialists are physical therapists who ride along with seniors to assess how older drivers are coping on roadways. They test everything from range of motion to driving habits to reflexes. Often, older drivers don't need driving privileges revoked entirely. Sometimes older drivers just need to unlearn bad habits they've developed, or they need to restrict their driving to only during the day or to local roads.

There is no comprehensive national plan on how to deal with aging drivers. The issue is mostly left to family members to hash out, and sometimes drivers end up behind the wheel long after they should have hung up the keys.

Driving rehabilitation specialists assessments are sometimes be covered by health insurance or Medicaid. The American Occupational Therapy Association provides a tool on their website for locating such specialists by zip code.

Older drivers aren't usually automatically tested by the state unless there has already been a problem. Many states provide hotlines for anonymous tipsters who spot dangerous drivers, but only one state, Illinois, requires elderly drivers to retake road tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a five year plan this month for implementing nationwide tools to assess older driver's roadworthiness.

Americans are getting older on average and it shows on the road. NHTSA found a 20 percent increase since 2003 in drivers over 65. That is 35 million elderly licensed drivers on the road. They also found crashes involving the elderly have increase. In 2012, drivers over 65 were involved in three percent more fatal crashes and 16 percent more injuries than the previous year.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 189 Comments
      zygi & paris
      • 1 Year Ago
      I will hand in my keys voluntarily when the time comes. This will keep me safe as well as others.
      karen
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are unsafe drivers of EVERY age spreading their terror on the roads every day. Just drive on a major toll road and watch. Very few, if any of them, are elderly.
        beverlyamy1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @karen
        and those fat-asses feeding their faces.
        Joan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @karen
        Rarely, does one see an elderly driver, with a phone hanging off their faces, or worse yet, looking down and texting in their laps. Seems the elderly are the drivers on the road, with common sense. Oh, and I am a 70 year old driver, who chooses neither bad habit. And, if you see me driving slower these days, it is because I choose to drive a bit slower, albeit, the speed limit these days. Pass me while on your phones and texting, as I would rather have you in front of me, rather than rear-ending me because of your irresponsibility.
      • 1 Year Ago
      hello, my dad is not that old (63) but he's an alcoholic. We as his children hide the car keys from him so that he doesn't drive. He doesn't speak English that well either. I am eager to find a rehab that provides services in different languages so I can get some help for him. I tried so hard to find one but unsuccessful. Does anyone know of any rehabs like that?
      oldalto
      • 1 Year Ago
      "In 2012, drivers over 65 were involved in three percent more fatal crashes and 16 percent more injuries than the previous year." Which is meaningless if we don't have the actual numbers of fatal crashes and injuries, and also the stats from other age groups with which to compare. That said, I had a father-in-law that eventually rolled his car into a ditch, broke his neck, and died from complications months later, that I had told my husband over and over the family needed to stop him from driving. Thank God he didn't take anyone else with him when he wrecked.
      • 1 Year Ago
      They just said there was in increase in the number of elderly drivers, so why in the would are they so surprised there is an increase in elderly accidents ???? dah
        • 1 Year Ago
        e have a lot of people coming in this country. I just do not know how they pass. Mybe they bribe.
          kubi490
          • 1 Year Ago
          being a Chicagoan we have now allowed the illegals to take the driving test and acquire a license w/ the prerequisite that they show proof of insurance for at least 3months. the city has no knowledge of their past driving record in whatever country they came from...do you think it's about the votes?
      impactvqi
      • 1 Year Ago
      everyone has become to lacks in the way that they drive and have fallen into bad habits and are in too much of a hurry, slow down and think and stay alive
      Charles
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a bogus story because when you check with every Insurance company stats, the state dmv stats, and the national highway safety council, they all state that teenage drivers are responsible for more accidents than any other group. And with a simple self test you will agree, first go park near your local high school just before the end of school, watch the number of kids that pile into the cars, all either on the phone or texting, including the driver, watch how they leave the campus and ask yourself if you would like to be in traffic with them. I was a pro driver for 16 years and have watched how the influx of cell phones has created a new brand of driver, one that is more distracted, less focused and by far less aware of his or her surrounding, meaning you and your car. Older drivers do have certain faults, but the numbers don't lie.
        rabidrhinotroy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Charles
        hey charles apparently you've never been to florida and been forced to sit through a left turn light 3 times only to have the senior driver in front of you assume the sidewalk looks like a good place make their own road or decide after ten minutes to throw their right blinker because they decided they weren't sure if they wanted to turn left after all.
        Linda
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Charles
        You are right on, Charles.
      GateMasterSavage
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think testing every few years for 65 and older would be a great help to avoid problems on the road.
      mikelookup
      • 1 Year Ago
      An individual's reflexives deteriorate with age. So does comprehension of a dangerous situation. These should be tested when seniors reach a certain age before reissuing driver's license! I am a senior citizen and am not speaking as a youngster.
      mdennish
      • 1 Year Ago
      Every driver 70 yrs. of age or older should have to take a drivers test annually. Also...the test [written and physical] should be much more difficult for beginning drivers.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I dare any one to drive with my 87 year mom , I won,t .
      rlrdkb
      • 1 Year Ago
      What are the elderly supposed to do? they have to get around the same as everyone else. For most people there is no alternative transportation other than a car. The US has neglected public transport and we only see the more enlightened cities doing something about it. Take away the car and seniors become prisoners in their own home. Make no mistake I'm all for taking drivers off the road who could be a liability to others due to impaired motor skills,but there has to be options and alternatives.
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