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Revoking your parent's driver's license
Old 06-22-2008, 06:52 PM   #1
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Revoking your parent's driver's license

Has anyone ever had to do that? I don't mean persuading them that continuing driving is not a good thing for themselves or others and they voluntarily give up driving.

I mean dealing with one who is obviously NOT fit to drive safely any longer and who refused to face the reality.

In some states a relative can write to the motor vehicle administration and request that a relative be retested, and if MVA agrees they will have to pass the driver's test all over again.

We are borderline on having to do this and I'm wondering how this has worked or turned out for others.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:06 PM   #2
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in florida you can have anyone's license revoked on competency grounds. i probably still have the form somewhere. but we went a step beyond. when mom refused to give up her car keys we dismantled the car that night and by noon the next day we had a temporary court order pending establishment of guardianship.

taking away the license does nothing. even keys can be replaced. you have to take away the car.

we had been monitoring the situation for a long time. we'd get in her car and let her drive us or we'd drive behind her often without her knowledge. we probably let her drive for longer than we should have but she drove very little, her office being just blocks away from the house.

after she first got lost just coming to my house, we got her to take cabs for longer distances. she was ok with that. but taking the car away completely, well, she was not giving that up without a fight.

the day after we dismantled the car i had a driver for mom to take her anywhere. i tried to make it seem like a luxury (which i was) but mom never saw it as more than an imposition and i think even an embarrassment.

a driver to drive you around in your towncar. you can see where that would be embarrassing.

if you think taking the car away is tough, just wait until you have to take away the house. good luck. getting old sucks.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:10 PM   #3
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I haven't had to do it for a parent, but did have to suggest it to my client's physician once. I actually moved right after that, so I do not know how it turned out. I'm not sure if this is how it works in your state, but in PA I was told to contact the physician in these situations.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:40 PM   #4
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I know when my granfather needed to stop driving . My Aunt had to get rid of the car or he would have continued to drive . My mother luckily knew it was time in her late eighties and stopped driving but she still has her car and her license at 92. She likes the security of knowing it is there in an emergency but we are pretty secure with the fact that she will not drive it.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:27 PM   #5
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We are borderline on having to do this and I'm wondering how this has worked or turned out for others.
Didn't have to do it with FIL, but it was being talked about before he became incapable of driving and rendered the point moot.

When I worked on the streets the state DPS had a form (basically an affidavit) that allowed peace officers to notify them of any driver whose medical condition interfered with their ability to drive safely. The state had a medical review board that made decisions about revoking or suspending driving privileges based on those affidavits. Apparently anyone can make such a request in Texas, even an anonymous party.
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A Texas driver may be reported to the Medical Advisory Board by physicians, family, friends, acquaintances, driver license field personnel, anonymously or by admission of a possible health condition that may interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle upon application or renewal for a Texas driver license. Family, friends and anonymous reports will be investigated by field personnel first. These reports may be kept confidential, unless the subject requests the document through an open records request. All records are subject to becoming open records if the person requests an administrative hearing.
I would check the website for the appropriate state agency and see what works locally.

There is an older couple in my neighborhood that owned one of those old Lincoln Town Cars - about the size of a small aircraft carrier - that I've never met but have seen them around for years. He must have stopped driving for some reason as he was always be in the back seat while she drove them around. Her top speed in the battle cruiser was about 20-30 MPH, and I've never seen her do anything else dangerous, but I knew eventually somebody was going to light her up for driving too slowly. About a year ago I saw her get pulled over as she came off the highway service road to turn near the mall. I hate to think she was driving on the freeway, but if she was I bet the guy who pulled her over probably sent in a medical affidavit on her, because I saw her and the Lincoln a few times after that but not since. I kind of miss seeing the old gal puttering around in the landbarge with hubby ensconced in the back seat, but I don't think she was up to the task anymore.

FIL had a wreck, in his Town Car, about two years before an accidental injury put him out of the driving business permanently. I found out after the wreck that he was at fault because he was having problems turning his head all the way to the left to check for oncoming traffic, so he just kind of looked out of the corner of his eye and turned right on red. His doc was a family friend and he was brought in to convince the old guy to get his back and neck issues treated so he could drive safely.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:27 PM   #6
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We disconnected the battery cable on my mothers car. We told her it needed repairs and that the cost of repairs exceeded the value of the car. A new car was not in the picture, and we would make sure she got to anywhere she needed to go. It worked, however, she passed away within a year. I am not sure it would have worked for a long term situation. Also it would not have worked with my dad. He would have been under the hood trying to fix it.

We were going to have a similar problem with DW's dad. 97! He was still driving as 96. His health took a turn for the worse so the problem went away. Doubtful he will ever recover to the point when he can drive again. However, to show how strong the urge is, when his doctor ask him what his outcome from treatment should be 'So I can drive my own car again!' was the answer.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:52 PM   #7
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I have a close friend whose elderly aunt was becoming a horrendous driver, and the family had talked about doing something. One day she backed out of her driveway, straight across the street, up her neighbor's driveway, and through their garage. The family had her car towed to a repair shop, and contacted her doctor to write a letter to the sate DMV. The state took away her license in less than 48 hours. She wasn't too happy about it at first, but she got over it quickly, and is now glad they did what they did......and I'm sure her neighbors were elated as well.

The same friend's even older uncle (the aunt's brother) had a wreck back around Christmas, that was his fault. Prior to the wreck they had tried for some time to convince him he needed to hang up his keys, because his driving was becoming more and more unsafe. He said he'd think about. About a month after the wreck he decided that they were right, and he voluntarily sold his truck. Had he not been willing, they planned on going the route with him as they did their aunt.

My friend's mother, who is between her brother and sister age-wise, decided for herself a few years ago that it was time to quit driving. So they didn't have to worry about her.

BTW, the aunt, uncle, and the uncle's lady friend all live in the same senior living complex, and they offer free transportation to go shopping, appointments, and other things like that, as well as regular outings and picnics and such. All 3 are very happy, and don't miss having their own wheels anymore. And the family member take turns every week to come down to visit and take them out to eat, and out for rides in the country and to parks in the area.

So I'd say contact the DMV to find out what the proper procedure is, and then take it from there. I hope it all goes smoothly, and works out without any hurt feelings.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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Tread Softly

We had to do this with my father and used the "how would you feel if you killed a child" angle. I think having a doctor "require" it might have helped.

To be honest, it was nearly as tramatic as telling him he had cancer. A car represents freedom to many of us and though he lived a year after giving up driving, I believe it shortened his life - be gentle.

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Old 06-23-2008, 09:35 AM   #9
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Husband and I had issues, he with his Mother, me with my Dad.

Husband disconnected the starter and told her it needed service, then a beloved granddaughter needed to 'borrow' the car. As she was a widow in a retirement center driving was not necessary.

My Dad was a nightmare!! Disabling a car wasn't an option as Mom was an able driver. He had a surgery for a brain tumor (with judgement complications) and when his MD wouldn't OK his driving "yet" he lost patience. Mom mailed in his licence with a note to DMV. He was one angry Norwegian so he took it upon himself to drive to DMV headquarters to plead his case - on a Saturday. The State Police pulled him over en-route for driving on the left side of the freeway. Dad's explanations were funny if not so sad. He was mad at Mom until his death.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:20 AM   #10
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DH had to do this with his beloved aunt after she got lost driving from our home to hers, the last straw.

The route from our house to hers was a direct route that involved two traffic lights and about 6 miles of freeway driving. She somehow got confused and ended up nearly 50 miles away...on a service road leading to an active runway at the National Guard Airbase. The MPs stopped her and she insisted that she was just down the street from her house -- not in the next county!

Anyway, DH notified the DMV after having the talk with her about "how would you feel if you had killed someone?" She agreed, reluctantly, and used cabs to get around for the next several years. But every now and then she would talk about getting a new car....
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:28 AM   #11
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its a tough decision. after many years of prodding, my mother voluntarily gave up her license at the age of 94 ... i would have preferred 84. she knew it was time when she had to asked strangers to turn the key for her (never mind how she would turn the wheel, or apply the brakes!) the father of a friend managed to put his car in a swimming pool, but is still driving.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:35 AM   #12
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... the father of a friend managed to put his car in a swimming pool, but is still driving.
The age 94 father of one of my friends managed to put his parked car through the front entrance of a local business, killing a shopper. "But I was stepping on the brake!".

Thankfully he no longer has a car - although my friend and his siblings now know they should have acted much earlier.

Be gentle, but don't be late.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:41 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the stories of how you handled it. We're not sure it's required just yet, but it's coming soon. That's one of the reasons we want to get him into a retirement community where a car is not "required" and he'll be more open to the idea that he doesn't need one. The question of "how would you feel if you killed a child" is probably most likely to work because I know something like that would be devastating to him.

If that fails I'll have to take the sledgehammer approach and contact MVA. When I was working (retired police officer) I could fill out a simple form to request reexamination of a driver, which I did a few times, so I'm sure there's a way for family members to do it.

There's a lot of work needed on his house to prepare it for sale. That will, I suppose be my "job" for the next few months.

Actually, I'm finding that I'm enjoying this. There's a series of tough problems to be worked on, I know I have the abilities to solve them, and a successful resolution is within sight.

Go figure.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:16 PM   #14
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My FIL was in his late 60's and was driving to the airport with MIL to come visit us. He got into an accident, hitting the car in front of him at a stoplight. After exchanging info and making a police report they continued on the airport and parked and made their flight.

On their return home, the vehicle wouldn't start at the airport and they had to get a ride home. Later they recovered it, had it repaired, but he never drove again, my MIL took over all the driving.

It turns out that he had lost a good deal of feeling in his feet due to diabetes, but he had just kept driving. At that age it was very difficult for him to acknowledge how bad his health was. With every new health crisis he planned on "getting over this one" and driving again, but he never did. He died at age 70, far too young.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:39 PM   #15
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Actually, I'm finding that I'm enjoying this. There's a series of tough problems to be worked on, I know I have the abilities to solve them, and a successful resolution is within sight.

Go figure.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:16 PM   #16
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We should have done that for my dad. He was diagnosed with macular degeneration in his 20s and by the time he was in his forties he had lost most of his sight (He can't see well what is in front of him, but he can see OK what is on his side). Yet he refused to stop driving. For many years we pleaded with him but nothing worked. His driving was getting worse and worse and one day, at age 42, he ran over a pedestrian who was crossing the street in front of him. He just didn't see him, but because his bad eyesight he was driving pretty slowly and the pedestrian came out shaken but uninjured. When the cops explained to him that, had the pedestrian been injured, he could have faced jail time, he got the message. He's never driven another car since that day.

If we could have revoked his license we would have done it while he was in his 30s. He was becoming a danger to himself, our family and whomever was in his way. I remember him driving down on the wrong side of a mountain road one night when I was a kid. We kept telling him to stop but he wouldn't listen. He damn nearly killed all of us that night.

But I know that there would have been hell to pay if we had revoked his license. When you lose your ability to drive, it feels a bit like you are losing your independence. You have to rely on others to drive you where you need to go. Plus it forces you to face your own physical decline, which is never easy.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:07 PM   #17
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Lazy, Good on ya for taking control of the situation. It had to be done.

We were very concerned about our dad. His peripheral vision was shot and his neck was stiff. He had tickets. He was already living in a retirement home. He had offered the car to me more than once. I took him up on it. It went OK.

My MIL was deteriorating. She didn't drive much anymore, but we had reason to worry. She got lost. She had a heart event and it transpired that she went to an assisted living home and doesn't miss the car.

Sometimes things work out. It helps to be in small towns.
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:15 AM   #18
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Has anyone ever had to do that? I don't mean persuading them that continuing driving is not a good thing for themselves or others and they voluntarily give up driving.

I mean dealing with one who is obviously NOT fit to drive safely any longer and who refused to face the reality.

In some states a relative can write to the motor vehicle administration and request that a relative be retested, and if MVA agrees they will have to pass the driver's test all over again.

We are borderline on having to do this and I'm wondering how this has worked or turned out for others.
When you say not fit to drive, what is the actual problem?

If you parent does not agree, why do they not understand?

I would consider having a family intervention or having someone that they respect (perhaps a doctor or police officer) speak with them.

It may be time for your parent to stop driving but there are some consequences. You probably need to be prepared to offer solutions for your parent's ability to get to the store, shop, doctor, etc. They will need transportation.

Once they lose that independence, they are dependent on others. Are you prepared to step in and take the responsibility? A few issues to think about.

It is likely to depress your parent as they lose that bit of freedom.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:50 AM   #19
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When you say not fit to drive, what is the actual problem?

If you parent does not agree, why do they not understand?

I would consider having a family intervention or having someone that they respect (perhaps a doctor or police officer) speak with them.

It may be time for your parent to stop driving but there are some consequences. You probably need to be prepared to offer solutions for your parent's ability to get to the store, shop, doctor, etc. They will need transportation.

Once they lose that independence, they are dependent on others. Are you prepared to step in and take the responsibility? A few issues to think about.

It is likely to depress your parent as they lose that bit of freedom.
A Chevy ad writer hit it dead-on in writing "It's not just a car. It's your freedom."

There are no specific, dramatic instances of being not fit to drive, just an observation of his general decline in driving abilities. For example, two weeks ago he would have backed over a lawn chair in the driveway if we hadn't yelled at him. It's pretty hard to miss a big white plastic chair clearly visible in the left-hand rear view mirror. When riding with him he doesn't seem to notice or react to road events that other people, not just me and DW, think he should.

The recent accident happened in an area with which he was very familiar and he said he became momentarily confused as to which ramp he should take. That ramp has been there 20 years.

DW is prepared to step in and drive him around, but not one to three times per day which is his routine now. That is an unreasonable expectation of anyone. Once or twice, maybe thrice, a week would be more reasonable since we live 35 minutes away.

He does not yet agree that his driving skills are declining because "I've been driving since before you were born" which is true. But I think it's starting to sink in that perhaps he isn't as sharp as he once was.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:21 AM   #20
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Update on this old thread:

Finally "I couldn't stands it no more" and wrote a one-page letter last December to the Department of Motor Vehicles requesting that FIL be reexamined. Several other family members are aware of it and fully agreed that it is necessary, although no one else would take the initiative to do so.

After a several month delay they called him in for "functional capability test" which he swore he did fine on.

Apparently not, since two days later he received another letter stating he has until May 7 to pass a driving test, including parallel parking and a short road drive. There are several pages describing the maneuvers in exhaustive detail. It sounds reasonable and any even marginally competent driver should pass it. I am not optimistic about it and he is for the first time expressing real concern about being able to drive.

It's hard to see this happen, I do like him a lot, but at the same time I also believe he's one of those guys who will eventually make a sit-down restaurant into a drive-in. Or worse.

Just one of life's dilemmas that there is no easy answer to.
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