The decision to stop driving is one not entered into lightly. By giving up a driver’s license, a person is giving up some independence as they must rely on another to provide transportation. No longer will the person be able to decide on a whim they feel like going to the grocery store or on some other outing. Trips, whether to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or the like, must now be planned out so that transportation may be scheduled in advance. For some individuals, this will mean utilizing services such as taxis or shuttles, while for others this means coordinating with family members as to when they are available to provide such a service. A person should only stop driving if they are no longer comfortable driving or if they are a danger to others while driving.
A person’s age is not sufficient reason to suggest they stop driving. The more common indicators for concern have to do with diminishing physical and mental abilities. As we are all aware, the ability to see is a requirement to drive. In Arizona, once you reach 65, you are subjected to a vision test every five years to keep your driver’s license. In New Mexico, once you reach 75, you must take a vision test every year to keep your driver’s license. If you are concerned about a loved one’s vision, suggest they have their vision tested on a more regular basis by a professional. If there has been a decline in vision, it may be rectified by corrective lenses. If the deterioration is not correctable, then the time has come to stop driving.
A person diagnosed with short term memory loss or who suffers from hallucinations may not have the necessary judgment to continue driving. Both physical and mental acuity can be affected by prescription drug use. Some drugs may cause drowsiness, delayed response time, confusion, and other physical or mental impairments. Be sure to review the warning labels and possible side effects when new medications are prescribed.
The best course of action to take if you are concerned about a loved one’s driving ability is to have a discussion with them. Voice your concerns and allow your loved one to provide their comments as well. Remember, giving up the ability to drive is not a decision to be made rashly as it results in the loss of some independence. If it is time for you or a loved one to stop driving, be ready to discuss available transportation options. This will help reduce some of the anxiety associated with the loss of independence.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.