You are concerned that your parent, grandparent or another older relative may not be able to drive safely any longer. How do you approach this subject recognizing that this privilege of adulthood is difficult for the driver and their family to discuss? Here are some resources that will be of help.
There are several reasons that this issue should be discussed with the aging driver:
1. The person's own life and health. Older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident.
2. The safety of others. This would include family passengers, pedestrians and other drivers.
3. Potential financial liability. There could be a devastating loss of assets in the event a serious accident results in property damage, injury or death. Often the person's automobile liability insurance will be inadequate to cover the full amount of damages awarded in a lawsuit.
There is help available for broaching this subject with your family member. The AAA has created an advance driving directive. The purpose of the directive is to have the driver name the person that he/she wants to initiate the discussion with the driver about whether the driver should continue to drive when the time is right. The named person does not make the decision for the driver. The named person is simply someone the driver would feel the most comfortable with when discussing this subject. Here is a link to the Driver Planning Agreement from AAA.
There are also good resources available that will help with preserving driving privileges, assessing an older person's driving and tools to help you have this discussion with your older driver. These resources can be accessed through the following links:
AARP, AAA, NIH Institute on Aging and The Hartford/MIT Age Lab.
It is important to have this discussion with your loved one to avoid a potential tragedy. It is a tough discussion but one that will be worthwhile in the long run.
The information contained on this blog is intended for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and is not intended as legal advice of any kind. This information may not apply to your specific issue, therefore, do not act upon this information without consulting Zimmerman & Steber Legal Group, S. C. or another qualified attorney.