Our father is 94 was told several years ago to stop driving. Our mother and other family members refuse to intervene even though he can no longer make phones calls, fix a sandwich, etc. We children have taken the vehicle but he managed to reclaim it, doctors reported him to bureau of motor vehicles but all to no avail. What to do?
My family no longer talks to me saying I violated her rights. She was put on hospice 6 months later and had a good death at home. I am an RN IV which I put on the DMV document to testify she was, in fact, a danger on the road. I was also blamed for her death as she wasn't put on hospice until I arrived and I was the one who initiated the hospice referral and took care of all the details for the home death.
I have no family now but I do have peace knowing I took a very dangerous person off the road before they killed innocent people. Driving is a privilege that is earned and maintained through proving you still qualify for that privilege. I am also at peace knowing I gave my mom the proper, respectful death at home that wouldn't have happened had I not been there.
A bit of a back story of how this all came about. I had moved from HI to WA state after determining my mother needed my help. When I arrived at her home I was horrified to find her car had a few large dents. She had an excuse for every dent. When I rode in the car with her driving, she could not stay on the right side of the rode and her judgment for distance was gone...I could not believe we survived the ride.
She lived out in the country in a small town so no one held her accountable. I also discovered she was on multiple meds; adderall, valium, pain meds, ambien & more...her medical Dx was much worse with chronic high blood pressure, pace maker, complete heart block etc...you get the picture and she slipped into long moments with what I will call in layman terms madness. I would find her with random fits of hysteria, she thought everyone was stealing from her and moving the furniture to confuse her, she was hearing and seeing what wasn't there, and yes, she was still driving on public roads with the blessing of the rest of the family...yea.
I do not regret what I did and it got real nasty. I tortured myself with am I doing the right thing, am I wrong: then visions of mangled dead people would enter my mind with my mother standing over them and I would cry...if it had not been a direct family member, I would have never hesitated. I tried to incorporate the help of her doc because I knew he had to know and he brushed me off. I then told the doc I was doing a medication review on her med profile that he was prescribing my mother. He suddenly moved if you can believe that...he actually closed down his practice and disappeared. Take care of your loved ones people.
Don't be afraid to do the right thing...
I wouldn’t cancel the insurance until AFTER the car is completely gone and he has absolutely no access to any vehicle. Because if he has an accident while driving uninsured, who do you think will be financially responsible? What you need to do is figure out who is enabling him to continue driving and either get them to cut it out OR call the cops every time you know he is behind the wheel. As someone with a parent who has absolutely no business driving but refuses to stop and as someone who’s parent had their license taken away at one point & yet he continued to drive....my heart goes out to you because I know what a terrible situation this is and how hard it is to get them to stop driving! So much easier said than done.
Thankfully no one was hurt. IF I had been aware of the first accident, I might not have enabled her to renew her license. It would have been simple enough - even she was worried the cops would "pull" her license after the recent accident (not likely - perhaps, but usually it isn't enough.)
About this time she was not going far anymore and not driving at night, thankfully. It was mainly local stores, no more than a mile or so. The next indication was the missing plastic on the driver side mirror. Could have been anyone who did this, not just mom, but she was oblivious - "It was there the last time I drove it!" Around the same time we found the inspection sticker expired (many months.) As someone else said, driving is a privilege, not a right. When one no longer can maintain a car in good stead, understand the rules of the road and has no clue how their car was damaged, it is time to reassess!
So, the next, big indication was a call to say she needed help with a flat tire. I brought my tire pump down, and just stood with wonderment at what she had done - the tire was split from the rim to the ground and the metal trim around the wheel well was bent up and away... No idea if she drove it with a flat or hit something, but the rim was also damaged and the rear tire needed replacement too. There were also nice white stripes on both front fenders from scraping against the garage door trim.
I had AAA put the spare on and had it brought to my mechanic to get fixed. Then had chat with YB saying we need to take this away. I do understand that many will say this is their property and we have no business taking it, BUT out of concern for her and anyone she might injure or kill, I would take the chance that she might call someone to intervene!!
YB did all the talking and took the key. Her face was like a 5 yr old who was caught in the cookie jar. I only stood behind him, and on the way out suggested disabling it as I was sure she had another key (he pulled the battery cable.) Next day, who gets the nasty call/message about her key? Me of course. When I returned her call I could honestly say I never touched her key. She was so nasty to me that when she asked who did, I just replied 'You're so smart, YOU figure it out." and hung up. Day 2, an even nastier call demanding that I get down there RIGHT NOW and fix whatever I did to her car. Found the spare, she did! Again I could honestly say I never touched the car (I suggested the "fix", but never touched it!) So she asks what's wrong with it. Now I can say I'm not a mechanic, I don't know what's wrong with it (fib, but necessary.)
At some point we removed it from where she was living and never returned it. She whined. She moaned. She complained. She maintained that she "didn't go far", to which I replied "I don't care if you go 2 feet, if you hit someone you will lose EVERYTHING." Periodically she continued the whining, but eventually that morphed into her saying "The worse decision I ever made was to give up my wheels.", like it was HER idea! Eventually even that went away.
Out of sight, out of mind (and out of access!)
Not everyone can self regulate. Spouses are often enablers because they are also too old and frail to fight back. The only answer to someone who no longer is a safe driver is to stop them from driving.
I skimmed through, lots of good advice but some not so good advice on disabling a car.
The car will have to be moved and sold at some point. I don’t advise pulling spark plug and distributor cables. Newer cars don’t have distributors and it’s very easy to get the plug wires mixed up when you try to put them back. Don’t let the air out of the tires either, PIA to get them pumped back up. Removing the battery can be quite a job also. Not necessary.
Easiest way to disable a car:
Find the fuse/relay box under the hood or drivers side under dash. Small black box.
Get the cover off. Usually just snaps off. I need my glasses and a flashlight for this.
You will see different colors of fuses and larger cube like gizmos, these are relays. They just plug in.
Look on the underside of the fuse box lid. There will be an index. Find the one that says STARTER, START SYSTEM, or some such description.
Pull this out. Put it in your pocket or hide in a safe place where grandad won’t find it.
When he tries to start the car it’s dead. No click, no nothing.
you tell him you’ll get it towed. After bedtime, plug in relay, drive car away.
In my dads case I also called the repair shop my dad used and the dealer and clued them in as to what was going on in case dad had the wherewithal to try to get the car fixed or towed.