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Adult children often struggle to tell parents to stop driving

We've likely all heard the saying that driving is a privilege and not a right. This saying rings especially true for those individuals who lose their driver's license due to a DUI or major driving violation. While often viewed as a means of punishment, there may be other times where it also makes sense to take away an individual's driver's license. 

In the coming years, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will nearly double to an estimated 73 million by the year 2030. Age is often accompanied by a decline in health which can adversely impact an individual's vision, reaction time and ability to quickly process information and respond accordingly.

With so many baby boomers nearing their golden years, safe driving advocates are bracing for an increase in the number of car accidents. During 2011, an estimated 17 percent of all fatal car accidents involved individuals age 65 and older. In the coming years, it will become increasingly important that family members monitor the driving behaviors of elderly loved ones and take steps to intervene when necessary.

For a grown son or daughter, telling a mother or father that they should no longer drive can be awkward and difficult. In fact, a recent survey of adults with elderly parents revealed that nearly 50 percent of respondents believed a parent would be angry or hurt if approached about their declining driving abilities.

In order to ease the sting that such a revelation may have, adult children would be wise to ride with an elderly parent to observe their driving behaviors firsthand. Other indicators that it may be time for an aging parent to stop driving include bumps and scrapes on a vehicle or complaints by an elderly driver related to their health or driving abilities. While having the discussion that it's time to stop driving may be difficult, doing so can help provide for the safety and well-being of a loved one and other drivers and passengers.

Source: USA Today, "Seniors behind the wheel: Few kids have the talk," Larry Copeland, Sep. 29, 2013

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