Can adult children overrule a doctor in taking away the keys to the car?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
Boogie asked...

We don't think our 92 year old dad should be driving because of his heart but the doctor said he could

Expert Answers

Elizabeth Dugan, a Fellow of the Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston, is the author of Driving Dilemma: The Complete Resource Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families.

You don't say what your father thinks, and he is the key person in this. Instead of trying to "over rule" the doctor, how about talking with your father to see how he feels? Most of us will not be driving right up until the day we die, has he thought about when he will know he is no longer safe to drive? Ask him. Voice your concerns and your desire to keep him happy, safe, and socially connected even if he isn't able to drive anymore.

Safe driving requires the ability to see, think, and move. Medical conditions (and their treatments) can impact these abilities. When you have different opinions on a person's driving fitness the best solution is to get a formal driving evaluation from a certified driving rehabilitation specialist. Good luck!

Community Answers

I agree with Elizabeth, ask for your father's input as driving has been a major factor for his independence. Often times, medical specialists will comment on the situation without taking into account other areas. For example, his heart condition alone does not prevent him from being able to drive, therefore he is safe. As a certified driving rehabilitation specialist, we are one of the few professionals that will evaluate ALL areas that are required for driving; physical strength, endurance, balance, thinking skills, vision, and reaction times. Also exploring a person's access to family, friends or community transportation options will help develop a plan for driving safety and eventual driving cessation.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Forget asking dad. If its an issue, its already too late. If he thought he couldn't drive, he would have already given it up.

Caringdenise answered...

Hi, Adding to the excellent guidance you received from the experts here on, here are some more tips about senior driving: We also offer a state-by-state guide for driving laws: Please do let us know if there's more we can share to support you. Thanks for asking!