My Mom (89) drives her car with a suspended license, expired registration and maybe no insurance. She won't listen. What do I do? - AgingCare.com

My Mom (89) drives her car with a suspended license, expired registration and maybe no insurance. She won't listen. What do I do?

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I am in another state and I'm concerned that she will hurt someone. My brother is the lien holder on the car. Her license was suspended 3 years ago when she had hip surgery, by the doctor, I think. She also hasn't paid taxes. She doesn't believe me when I explain, and since her license is not expired, she thinks it's good. The license is from MA but she lives in FL.

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Carey, recently, within the year, it hit the national news a video of this car driving in the wrong way. The police tried to stop him. In the end, they shot at him (or the car) before finally stopping him. I remember watching the different news channels of every news caster asking: Why did the family allow him to drive? .... Everyone was blaming the family. One popular news doctor even made a comment about just letting his doctor know or another newscaster said to report him to DMV. I was so glad that one person tweeted: "It's not that easy."

This is a warning to you and your brother to do what you can because people will Not be looking at your father but to his family - if he ever gets into a serious accident. You know he no longer has a valid driver's license. You need to be pro-active and Document that you've tried in your end to do something.

Tell your brother that since his name is on the car, if your father gets into an accident, he will be the one held responsible. And if people find out that he allowed his father access to the car (example - the car key), they can sue your brother - since his name is on the car. And if there's a loss of life, the police will question him.

When you tell this, Recommend this, Warn this to your brother:
1. Email it to him and keep your email safe and easy to find.
2. Text your brother about this- keep that sent text as another back-up document.
3. Research on your end options and also send by certified mail this letter.

Options for brother - take the key away and blame you (since you're far away, you can afford to be the 'bad guy') My long distance siblings do this all the time for me. This way my dad doesn't accuse me of treating him like a child.

Option - If brother is not using the car, disable it. Flat a tire, take the cap out, etc...

Option - brother takes the car and sells it.

You can brainstorm ways to do this. Or google it.
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Treat your Mom just like you would your own teenager who did the same thing. If you can protect her dignity at the same time, then good. Has she always lived like the rules don't apply to her, or is this just new and proof of very poor judgment?
Please protect everyone on the roads, not just Mom. This answer is from someone who saw a family member go through the hurt and rejection of losing her license, as I was advocating she could drive. Prolonging it made it more painful and stressful. Your situation is different and much more urgent.
Give her ten minutes to decide to voluntarily give up driving; then inform her she is not driving, or follow any of the advice given above, just do it now.
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Freedom is for ALL of us! Personally, I want the freedom to not worry about blind drivers from killing innocent people. Good logic, good driving skills and the responsibility to Keep car insurance is great. I am all for elders to be independent as long as they are not a danger to others. Not keeping insurance is not funny. For those of us who have had doctors involved in trying to get them off the road, it is not easy. If a doctor willingly gets involved in license revocation.....you should not take this lightly.
I am touchy on this subject because of my father's driving history. BUT the seriousness of danger to others and the liability has lost me a lot of sleep over the last decade.
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You are so right, GardenArtist, about it being freedom. My parents feel stuck at home since Dad stopped driving 6 years ago. And I can't be their taxi driver like they wish I could be.... so whenever I say "no" is when my Dad will say that he will start to drive again. That's a major button with me when he does that :P

Then I mention about that lovely retirement complex they could have moved into and have had MORE freedom and me MORE freedom. No more being stuck at home, but they wouldn't make the move... [sigh].
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Mincemeat, I think there's another issue with drivers who don't want to quit driving, and it's FREEDOM. .... Freedom to get in the car and go wherever someone wants, whenever someone wants...freedom to be self reliant and not to be dependent on another person.

It's a freedom that I think makes a major difference in someone's life, and is in fact a major step toward loss of that true sense of independence as someone ages. It can be a major turning point.
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If you cannot get your brother to IMMEDIATELY repossess the car, get liability insurance so that the poor family she plows into have something to pay their hospital bills and funeral expenses with.

When it comes to drivers who won't quit, they have no concern for who ELSE may be harmed.

This is hard, but needs to be taken care of now, not later.
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CareyB, you and or brother need to make the trip to moms and end the driving one way or another. Some hurt feelings and yelling are small potatoes compared to the liability she is facing.

I suspect that the driving is not the only issue you have with mom. I'm a long distance caregiver for my folks and take care of most things pretty well from afar, but several times a year I have to get my butt in the car and make the 10 hour drive to deal with various issues and just get an eyeball on things. My next trip may well be the "Get the keys from dad and disable and sell the car" adventure.
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Oh dear, my mom with dementia caused an injury accident resulting in a one week jury trial that my sister and I drove her downtown to the courthouse for each day. Mom would weep during the drive in the backseat. The CNA was at home caring for 90 year old dad. One of the days the judge excused us at noon so we could race across town to the hospital because dad had a fainting episode and paramedics had been called. No action was taken to revoke her license. I had that task a year later.
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ok, thanks. just wasn't sure about what was going on.
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Forgot to add: Dad had a license; it had never been suspended. My father NEVER would have driven without a license.
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