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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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Not sure how resourceful he is...keep an eye on him once the car is disabled/towed away and he is told it can't be fixed, etc.
I had one client who asked a neighbor to call the taxi company for him, he went to car dealership and signed a rental agreement for a new car and drove it home!
That caused the power of attorney to be activated, and that person had to convince the car dealer that they needed to cancel the lease....that any ordinary person could see that brother was not capable.
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Reply to Clairesmum
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This is common problem and it's a question asked now and then on the forum.
The best and fastest method is to disable the car by removing something simple so that the car won't start.

What you can do from there is a range of possibilities such as having a quote done for imaginary repairs and telling your folks that it's too expensive, etc. You need to take the keys and any spare sets. It's a process of fibs that you'll have to navigate to keep them from ever getting behind the wheel again.

Perhaps with the folks away from home, you can drive the car to park it somewhere they'll not see it and then fabricate some story of it being towed, etc.

Do whatever is required to ensure that they have the needed transportation but act swiftly to prevent an accident that will protect your folks and everyone on the road. Don't feel guilty about protecting your LOs.

Best -
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Reply to Luta65
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cjl1959: Disable the auto by any means possible.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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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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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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Call their primary care physician and have them assess situation. They have the right to alert the DMV.
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Reply to Xoxotennis
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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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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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These actions should have taken place by now. If not, do it immediately before an accident happens! Family may remain anonymous. Doctors should send driver license suspension reports to the DMV. You might want to contact an eldercare attorney. Police should be notified about the potentially unsafe driver to track down the driver's car and impound it.

Another great idea: As mentioned earlier by our readers, have the vehicle (s) disabled, and change the auto keys so the driver cannot start the engine.

Mom still lived in our condo in 2012-13. I went through struggles with my 93-year-old mom as mentioned in previous forums. Doctors at Kaiser sent an unsafe report to the DMV, but Mom got very angry and insisted that she was still safe driving, despite my family's warnings. Fortunately, my mother could not use her walker to reach her car without my assistance. Furthermore, I kept her car parked in a remote visitor spot instead of our assigned parking for over one year, moving it to another space every 72 hours by myself. My vehicle was placed in our designated spot, and I did all the driving. When time came for her car's annual inspections, I got a $500 bill, did not have the work done, but drove back home and showed it to my mom and asked her if she was going to pay to have the broken steering wheel replaced fixed. She would not pay and sold the car without further arguments!
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Reply to Patathome01
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Tell them they can’t afford the insurance. And sell it. Put the pink slip in front of them and have them sign it.
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Reply to Sample
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bowgirl Nov 9, 2022
I'm the POA, I sold the car to myself and sold my little car that mom could not get in and out of.
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Many older adults fear loss of independence and losing their driver's license or car can exacerbate this concern. If you choose any option to remove their vehicle, make sure there are other options that will enhance their independence such as a bus pass or a caregiver to driver them places.

From the California DMV website www.dmv.ca.gov "If you know someone who may no longer drive safely, you may submit a Request for Driver Reexamination (DS 699) to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to review their driving qualifications. A sample of the DS 699 is provided for your convenience. If you prefer, you may write a letter to your local Driver Safety office to identify the driver you want to report and give your reason(s) for making the report." This can take some time. Other options people use is to have a friend "borrow" the car for an extended period of time. I have even heard of people disabling the car. Then when it is brought to the auto mechanic, explain the situation so the car is not returned.
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Reply to Girlzdesign
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Send a letter to the BMV and urge them to test your parents at the very least. Go into detail in your letter about what the doctor has said and what you have personally witnessed with erratic driving, etc. You can also remove or disconnect the battery, but make sure the neighbors are aware of what you're doing so that if your parents go next door asking for assistance, the neighbors don't try to help them and undo your attempt at keeping them safe. That happened to a coworker of mine.
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Reply to Jamesj
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We had to use drastic measures with my FIL.
It may depend on your state but our state has a reporting system for drivers. I filled out the paperwork, answering question about my concerns (you need to have good examples and reasons).
It was confidential. I was called by someone regarding this, once they received it.
My FIL received a letter in the mail (which made him mad). He was required to have his dr. sign a form, allowing him to drive. His dr. And I had already consulted about this, so he would not sign. So then my FIL was required to retake the written test, which he could not do. I did give him the instruction manual but he could never “get” to it (he had dementia). The dr. instructed the nursing home staff that no one was to make phone calls for him regarding this, and no one was to help him study.
It was painful but it worked. ☹️
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Reply to janevir
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Just replied to another post about a caregiver living her two cars at a clients 2 yrs ago. Hasn't worked for client in that time.

I suggested that if the registration was up to date and no insurance call the police. Where I live unregistered cars are illegal. Cops here give a warning, register or put up for sale or junk them. But get them off the property. The police will tow them away.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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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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Deactivate the car.....remove the car battery.
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Reply to brandee
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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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If the Dr. has informed them, they can't drive, they also should have informed the DMV. The DMV will then take action to either revoke their license or make them take a test to prove they can continue to drive. If you feel strongly that their license should be revoked, you can report them as well. In many states if they are reported, they will be required to be seen by a medical professional to determine if they are safe to drive.

If you have done all of this and they have been deemed unfit to drive or had their license revoked, you need to take away their keys or disable their car. There are serious consequences, including jail time, if someone continues to drive without a license and causes an accident.
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Reply to Mountaingyrl
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That is something that progresses it doesn’t get any better so having a Caregiver would ease your mind and secure your family in a safe environment
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Reply to Bambino2604
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I have been a caregiver for over 30 years I had a couple that I was taking care of he’s 92 and she’s 79 one has dementia the other one has Alzheimer’s the best thing to do is to get a private in-home caregiver so that they can be watched and supervise with no chance of them getting into the vehicle without the supervision of a caregiver
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Reply to Bambino2604
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Margie,

I was lucky. My Dad stopped driving and allowed Mom. Mom had neuropathy in her ankles and diagnosis of early Dementia. Her Neurologist sat in front of her, looked her in the eye, and told her she could not drive at 85. Went home, put her car up for sale and sold it. She understood what was going on. Signed the bill of sale and the title.

Out of sight out of mind.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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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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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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Are your parents still living "independently"?

If they can't drive, what parts of their lives will be impacted? Food shopping, socializing, grooming appointments, doctor appointments? What else?

Do they live alone? Is there a diagnosis of dementia?

Finding alternate means of transport might make them more willing to give up driving. But in the meantime, take away all the keys and get advice on how to disable the engine.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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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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Aarp is a very powerful especially with it's lobbiest in washington. It's gonna be difficulty
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Reply to Shouldacoulda
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Geaton777 Nov 4, 2022
Shouldacoulda, are you saying that somehow AARP has influenced driving rules/regs in *each state* making it more difficult to take away the license of an elder? Even if there is sufficient evidence it is necessary? I did a google search to see if I could find anything about AARP lobbying Washington on behalf of senior driving privileges and couldn't find anything.
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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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If their Dr has told them they should not drive, then the Dr should have reported them. Unless you have POA you legally can not stop them,,, but,, we told Dad the fancy new keyfob "quit working" and we needed to order a new one,, and it kept getting "backordered" This stalled him long enough for the paperwork to go through. My parents did sign the car over to me,, but that was Mom and not Dad who still wanted to drive. If they still want to drive they may not do this. Good luck as this is so hard.
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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Get her to sign over the vehicle and then have it towed and sold.
Google this sentence for ideas: "how to disable a car for dementia patient"

YouTube: (copy and paste) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=subJLy-OD_g
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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Report them to the DMV as unsafe drivers. Or have their doctor do it. Until they try to pass the exam and fail, disable the car somehow. Doesn’t it need to go to the shop for an oil change or something? Where you can ask the mechanic to make it inoperable?
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Reply to Fawnby
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