Critter Corner: Driver Cessation and the Advance Driving Directive

Dear Angel,

My mother has had Parkinson’s for 5 years and is a little shaky, but her doctor says she can still drive for the time being. Unfortunately, when the time comes for her to give up the car keys, I see it being a very difficult process. Are there any legal documents to help us when the time comes?


Hera Carr-Keyes

Dear Hera,

It is often difficult to talk to an elderly family member about giving up his or her car keys. For your mother, it sounds as though the fear that she may have to stop driving for good in the future may be a lot to bear. Many seniors feel this way. Why? Families often live at a great distance and friends are scattered and may have their own physical challenges to deal with. A driver’s license signifies more than the ability to drive a car; it is a symbol of freedom and self-sufficiency. Still, safety must come first.

When the time comes to consider cessation of driving for your mother, loved ones and medical professionals need to monitor her and keep the following three aspects in mind: life and health (older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident), the safety of others (including family passengers, pedestrians and other drivers), and the potential financial liability of a serious accident that damages property and/or destroys lives.

Yes, your family can plan in advance for when your mother should no longer drive. As part of her incapacity planning documents, she can indicate who she would trust to help her if she can no longer drive safely. Our firm can help draw up an Advance Driving Directive to name the person that she wants to initiate the discussion with her about continued driving (or not) when the time is right.

An Advance Driving Directive, which may be included in an Advance Medical Directive does not appoint someone to make the “stop driving decision” for the driver. Rather, it’s about naming whom you would like to have broach this touchy subject with you when the time comes to have the discussion.

Hope this is helpful,


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