The Elderly and Driving: When Is It Time to Hit the Brakes?


Prince Philip, age 97, of Great Britain, was recently in a car accident prompting reflection in the UK and beyond about when an aging driver should stop driving. Follow our link to the New York Times article, The Elderly and the Driving: When is it Time to Hit the Brakes?” for different strategies regarding how to address surrendering car keys with elderly family member. Read More.

The Elderly and Driving: When Is It Time to Hit the Brakes?

By NY Times

Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, overturned his Land Rover on Thursday in a car crash on a rural road north of London. He was unhurt; two women in an oncoming minivan suffered scrapes and a broken wrist.

It’s not known exactly what happened or who was at fault. The prince told police officers at the scene that he was momentarily blinded by the sun while pulling onto a main thoroughfare.

The incident has prompted some reflection in Britain about when an aging driver ought to consider surrendering the car keys. Sound familiar? The question has long tormented families everywhere.

Over the years, reporters at The Times have written extensively about the thorny issues involved. Here are a few articles about a controversy that won’t be going away anytime soon.

The Car Key Conversation

Now I learn that the “car key conversation” is the one that caregivers dread most. Thirty-six percent of adult children polled by the website and the National Safety Council said that talking to their parents about the need to stop driving would be harder than discussing funeral plans (29 percent) or selling the family home (18 percent).

Should Doctors Stop Patients From Driving?

Alas, among the takeaways of the guidebook are the great difficulties physicians have at this fraught moment, and how much easier it would be for them if the decision did not involve them. As it is, physicians must wrestle with laws that vary by state on a variety of issues: if and how elderly drivers are assessed differently than younger ones; whether it is mandatory or optional for doctors to report their concerns; how they are supposed to go about it and strike the right balance between confidentiality and safety; and whether they risk legal liability if, on the one hand, they alert the state authorities or, on the other hand, they keep silent and a subsequent accident occurs. Continue Reading

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