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What if a high-risk older driver refuses to stop driving?

Dr. Aruna V. Josyula, MD
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

If a high-risk older driver refuses to stop driving, someone can make a report, anonymously, to the Department of Motor Vehicles and notify the older adult’s physician. In some situations, when older adults have dementia, they may not have the ability to recognize that they have a problem with driving. In such cases, it may be necessary to hide the car keys, remove the car battery or sell the car.

This answer is based on a publication and research conducted by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab:

Some high-risk older drivers will not respond to constructive conversation. You may have to consider disabling the car, filing down the keys or taking away the car. Some older drivers, however, find ways to work around these actions, such as calling a mechanic and having a disabled car repaired. Strategies, such as not renewing a driver’s license or canceling registration or insurance, alone may be ineffective. Remember, drivers may continue to drive without a driver’s license, car registration or insurance coverage.

If you have not yet done so, speak with the older driver’s doctor or schedule a comprehensive driving evaluation. Call your state licensing agency or consult the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Web site (www.iihs.org) to learn about testing in your state. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.