How do I take the keys away from an alcoholic parent?

Sunshine peach asked...

My mother is a 79 year old alcoholic and she continues to drive when drinking. Her car is in her name. What can I do to get her license revoked and her car sold?

Expert Answer

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.

This is a tough situation, I'm sorry you have to deal with it. I'm going to assume that you have tried to talk to her to convince her not to drink and drive, and that has not been successful. Drinking and driving is deadly -- especially for older drivers because our bodies get less efficient at processing alcohol so the impact of it is amplified.

Taking the next steps may be uncomfortable because they involve local legal authorities. I recommend that you make an appointment with the local police to explain the situation and to ask for their help. Work together as partners to keep her and the roads safe. Second, I suggest that you check to see what the procedure in her state is for "medical reporting". All state licensing authorities permit the submission of reports of medically unfit drivers. Clearly, substance abuse threatens driving fitness. The medical report may trigger evaluation or immediate licensing action.

Again, I'm sorry you are faced with this hard situation. Know that you are doing what you have to -- to protect her and others on the road.