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Parents will not listen to their doctors, family & friends as to their ability to drive. What legal steps are there?

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I totally understand your fear of your parents driving. My parents insisted on driving and even leased a beautiful Nissan. My dad continued driving, even after he could not pass the eye exam, and thus had no insurance. (He claimed he was just going a short distance). He did finally stopped driving after he totalled the beautiful car. Consequences included a lawsuit and the possibility of jail time (at 87yo). So my mom, drove. She was 85 and suffered with neuropathy in her right foot. The fatal car accident, made my mom a widow at 89. Please please please do whatever it takes to prevent your parents from driving. Look into driving services in their area for shopping, Drs. appointments etc. Hopefully, they are not as stubborn as mine.
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Reply to Ellenbee2
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Take the keys.

When our parents become children, we become the parents.
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Reply to southiebella
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lindylou58 Nov 9, 2022
So very true....heartbreaking but true...:(...
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Ask someone to pull the distributor cap and take out the center wire. Put the cap back on, and it won't be obvious what's wrong. It disables the spark plugs, and the car won't start.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Dad died, Mom started driving again. She had unexplained dents on every side in a couple of months, she is blind in one eye and can't see well in the other. I told her I was taking it to be serviced, drove to the police station, showed them the damage and told them I was taking the car out of state. If mom called and reported it stolen, I have it. She never reported it stolen. I put the cab company in her phone and gave them her credit card number to take her anyplace within 3 miles( all docs). I told them how much to add for a tip. It worked well. I turns out she wax worried she would be stranded..... She also had the senior bus take her places. She got over it.
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Reply to bowgirl
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A couple of years before my Grandma passed at 95, she had insisted on driving. She lived in a mobile home, in a rural community. She lived by herself. She had moderate dementia, wore coke bottle bottom glasses (when she remembered), and had significant hearing loss that she occasionally wore hearing aids to correct. We all lived in fear that they’d find her dead in her car, someplace miles away on the prairie. She refused all help, and wanted her children to take care of her. Those were difficult relationships at best, and no one wanted to do it. Eventually, one of my uncles broke her car. He took the starter out, and that was that. B she forgot about it pretty quickly.
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Reply to Bethst
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I recommend you go to a locksmith and buy some replacement car keys that look similar to the keys for your parents' car. Replace the real car keys with those from the locksmith.

Usually, the key will fit in but won't turn so the engine won't start. When your parents complaint and ask why the car doesn't turn on, just tell them it's probably engine problem which needs the mechanic to look at, then have it towed.

Mechanic then tells your parents the problem can't be fixed. need new engine, or repair cost is more than the worth of the car, etc., Suggest they sell it right away to get the most money. If they wait till next year, the car will lose more value. Maybe they will go for the money.
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Reply to polarbear
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With my father - in Florida, I worked with the people who were caretakers and went to the police so he could not blame ME! - I got them to write him a letter saying he had to stop driving/come to MotorVehicle Dept to renew ( he and his girlfriend set out to renew, but couldn't find the DMV!!) I imagine many DMV & Police Departments have this happen regularly and have a way to manage it.

Still he had his licence in his wallet and would point to that - and say "I can drive".
I had to put a copy of police letter on his refrigerator and in the car, so he would remember. Then I took all his keys - he had a number of them - and finally after a year or two he sold his car.
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Reply to Paintingjtj
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Just to clarify, someone has actually seen them driving unsafely? Or the car shows signs of increasing dings and scrapes? Or they've had fender-benders/accidents? Or they have a diagnosis of dementia or memory impairment? If so, then start by anonymously reporting them to the DMV online.

Then make sure they have ways to get to all their appointments and can get their errands done.

The DMV will most likely send them a letter telling them to show up for a test (maybe an eye test, maybe behind the wheel... it depends on the state). No one should take them to this test. Let their licenses expire. Then make the case that the car, which will no longer be driven, is a financial expense so the should sell it, cancel the insurance.

If you replace the loss of independence with regular rides from trusted people, it will take a lot more of the sting (and fighting) out of this transition. I did this for my elder Aunts. I discretely had local relatives and friends offer to take them places and help them run errands. Then I thanked them with gift cards to restaurants so they could take my Aunts out for meals. It was a win-win.
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Reply to Geaton777
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If their doctor has formally advised them that they are no longer fit to drive, you (or, better, the doctor) can inform their insurer and their licensing authority.

You can - lots of people do - take their car, take their keys, on whatever pretexts come to mind. Those steps are not (or at least are less) legal.

Your parents are responsible for the consequences of their actions. Safety is at stake whenever anybody driving makes poor decisions.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Ultimately, the safest way to prevent driving is to remove the car.

If there is any access to the vehicle itself it represents a temptation that is difficult for a dementia patent to resist.

If there is no POA you can try having a mechanic permanently disable the car and explaining to the driver that “it’s difficult to get parts, the part is no longer made, the repairman has to travel here to fix it, this car is on a waiting list, etc….”

Bottom line, tantrum or tears, so me one who has been determined NOT SAFE TO DRIVE CANNOT BE PERMITTED TO DRIVE, and there must be a responsible LO to take charge of making sure that driving doesn’t happen.
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Reply to AnnReid
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