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Help, Dad driving without a license
Old 02-02-2017, 03:07 PM   #1
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Help, Dad driving without a license

Today was Dad's 95th birthday. We didn't realize it but his license expires today. He told us he knows he can't pass the required vision test, so he's not going to renew, but he plans to keep driving. He's perfectly fine behind the wheel, doesn't drive far and never at night. Thankfully, my sister lives with him now, and will drive with him most of the time. But he will be out on the road at least once a day without a license from today on.

Other than turning him in, or taking away his keys, any advice to prevent an accident? In fairness to him, there's decent evidence that he will give up driving on his own when he really can't see well enough - but I realize that's not consistent with most evidence with older drivers, who are the last to realize.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:13 PM   #2
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Today was Dad's 95th birthday. We didn't realize it but his license expires today. He told us he knows he can't pass the required vision test, so he's not going to renew, but he plans to keep driving.
Yeow! This is perhaps risking bankruptcy if he's at fault in a serious accident that injures someone else. The reason is that almost certainly his insurance policy requires that the driver have a valid driver's license. If it's only lapsed by a day or so the company might overlook it, but a year from now the company would be completely within their rights to deny any coverage at all.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:14 PM   #3
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It'll probably be an accident, or something along those lines, like a close call, before he gives up driving.

Hook him up with Uber?
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:15 PM   #4
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Why not take his keys away? He obviously knows he cannot see now (he said he would not pass the vision test). Maybe he is waiting for someone to do that.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:17 PM   #5
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What is he driving once a day for that he can't wait for your sister to drive him? Could that be fixed to whatever he's driving to is brought to him instead?
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:22 PM   #6
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The kindest thing to do is to take away his keys.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:26 PM   #7
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There is nothing but risk here, for him and others. If he won't listen to his family, perhaps his physician is willing to tell him that by driving he's a danger to himself and others?
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:27 PM   #8
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Today was Dad's 95th birthday. We didn't realize it but his license expires today. He told us he knows he can't pass the required vision test, so he's not going to renew, but he plans to keep driving. He's perfectly fine behind the wheel, doesn't drive far and never at night. Thankfully, my sister lives with him now, and will drive with him most of the time. But he will be out on the road at least once a day without a license from today on.

Other than turning him in, or taking away his keys, any advice to prevent an accident? In fairness to him, there's decent evidence that he will give up driving on his own when he really can't see well enough - but I realize that's not consistent with most evidence with older drivers, who are the last to realize.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:35 PM   #9
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Uber is not a bad option. It does need a smartphone, though, and if Midpack's DF doesn't have one, someone else would need to initiate every ride, which would be cumbersome and inconvenient.

Cars are about independence, not driving any more means losing one's independence and relying on others for simple things. Not easy to accept or adjust to this.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:39 PM   #10
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Self driving Tesla? I guess a Tesla driver would still require a licence but the chance of an accident would be minimal.

Jesting aside, sorry to hear that you are in this difficult situation. As a doctor I absolutely hate to be in the position of being the heavy and would much rather have the family sit the person down and have the talk but depending on the jurisdiction the doctor may have a duty to report if they become aware of the situation.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:41 PM   #11
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I would reach out to an eye doctor that specializes in elder eye care. In our state the vision exam can be administered by an optometrist and the driver takes the form to the DMV.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:54 PM   #12
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Ignoring the financial risk to him which is a big deal.

Ask him how he would feel if he drove and injured or worse killed someone?
Does he really want that on his conscience?
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:54 PM   #13
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When we went through the issue with FIL several years ago what ended it was that the car needed repairs that were more than the car was worth and he couldn't afford the repairs or another car. To everyone's astonishment he did pass his driver's test when he was required to take it.

I like the suggestion of having his physician tell him he's not qualified to drive anymore - the physician is disconnected from family relationships, has an independent opinion, and is hopefully qualified in your father's view.

If taking the keys won't work perhaps the next best thing is sabotage the car - pull a battery cable or the whole battery, or if he'd spot that or get it fixed, arrange to have it "stolen" by towing it away in the dark of night. If he's mentally sharp enough to get around all that or has funds to buy another car, then really, you have no other ethical choice but to report him. It's tough to do - when I wrote the letter to MVA in MD that was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:54 PM   #14
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... but depending on the jurisdiction the doctor may have a duty to report if they become aware of the situation.
Another option: after Dad pulls out of the driveway, call a cop and have him cited for driving without a license. If Dad is still sharp, he may be a tad suspicious about the timing.

FWIW: my grandmother voluntarily stopped driving at age 98.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:58 PM   #15
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If you explained to him the risks involved and that each time he drives without a license that he is risking losing all or a good portion what he spent his lifetime accumulating, might he listen to that? ... he would be better off just taking a taxi to where he needs to go if they have taxi service in his area that risking an accident and a claims for hundreds of thousands... not to mention how he would feel if he killed or maimed or injured someone.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:58 PM   #16
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The kindest thing to do is to take away his keys.
In some cases that may be an option but what if they refuse? Same thing when they still have a license but really shouldn't be driving. I always hear about people saying they will take away their parents keys but it may not be so easy to do in some cases (legally) without turning them in?
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:02 PM   #17
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The sister should just accidentally pocket Dad's keys every time she drives him if no one is willing to actually face this problem.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:07 PM   #18
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The kindest thing to do is to take away his keys.
Absolutely. You certainly don't want to deal with the emotional explosion that results, but it's what you need to do.

I'm reminded of a story my mother told me some years ago. She had only limited vision in one eye and basically none at all in the other, so she had long since given up driving (she was 89 or 90 at the time).

Her neighbor still drove (but shouldn't have) and was always happy to give mom a lift.

One day they were tooling down the avenue and there was a traffic light coming up in about half a block. The driver asked mom "What color is that light, red or green?"

Mom's reply was "What light?"

When she told me that, I asked her not to ride with that woman any more, and she agreed it would be best.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:14 PM   #19
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Cars are about independence, not driving any more means losing one's independence and relying on others for simple things. Not easy to accept or adjust to this.
That's the crux of this.

He'd never Uber for various reasons. He's a retired physician, so that angle won't help. Just taking away his keys would start WWIII. Disabling the car wouldn't work unless my sister disabled her car too, Dad gave her the car. My sister is already planning to get the eye doctor involved, might give him the confidence to take the license eye test. He might pass, and has nothing to lose that I know of.

My sister drives him some already, and she rides while he drives at least twice a week so she regularly monitors his driving. Insurance is an interesting question, but I remember him telling us he upped insurance quite a while ago to protect his estate. But forfeiting insurance due to driving without a license and then losing a big chunk of his estate might get his attention WRT insurance - This one is most promising IMO.

Thanks for all the good ideas, I'm thinking through them all.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:29 PM   #20
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Insurance is an interesting question, but I remember him telling us he upped insurance quite a while ago to protect his estate. But driving without a license might get his attention WRT insurance.
You're in a tough spot and I can emphasize. My point with the insurance is that even with upping the limits that won't help if all coverage is denied because he did not comply with a material term of the insurance contract by not having a current driver's license.

So even if he pays the premiums for millions in coverage, in effect he'd have no insurance at all. Perhaps his attorney could explain it to him. If it worked it would certainly be worth the 30 or 60 minutes of the attorney's time.

Another thought: He acknowledged that he didn't renew his license because he knows he can't pass the vision test, that means he knows he isn't qualified. This is way different from mere neglect or forgetfulness because it was a willful decision. If he gets in a collision that seriously injures or kills someone he could find himself facing criminal charges depending on the laws in that state. Maybe have the attorney go over the ramifications of that too.
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