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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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Twocents, sorry, I guess that was a bit of a confusing story. Here's what happened.

lst accident: I was at home, was called by the police who explained that Dad had been in an accident, wasn't hurt, was shaken up, and wanted me to come and pick him up. It was only about a mile away. The police had taken Dad to their car to keep warm as it was a chilly day. Actually I think they did that to protect him from the passengers in the car he hit.

As soon as I arrived and checked on Dad, a couple women from the other car came over and started yelling and hollering at me, blaming me for the accident because they felt I should have taken his license away. They tried to get me to admit to liability issues which I refused to do. On the other hand, they refused to answer my queries as to whether they were injured, hedging their responses, perhaps until they saw some 1-800-sue-them lawyer.

As soon as the police had the information they needed, I scooted Dad away from the two women as they were still ranting and raving about how old people shouldn't be driving.

2d accident: Dad hit part of a large storage unit as he was backing up to get into position to help me load as we were emptying our storage unit and filling both our cars with stuff. The renter of the unit was called, as his son came on scene shortly after the accident. The son was reasonable, very calm and professional, and even expressed concern for Dad, but his father went off like a firecracker - explosive and angry even though the two cars he kept in the storage unit weren't damaged - weren't even touched.

His son explained that his father had a temper. And he really did! I took Dad to my car because it was a cold, bitter day. The father went over to my car (fortunately I had locked Dad in) while I was talking with the police officer, and started yelling at Dad that he shouldn't be on the road. Then he came over and lectured me and blamed me for not taking away Dad's license.

The police officer was a model of grace; he even seemed to feel badly about recommending that Dad cease driving. The howler was still ranting when I left to take Dad home. He wasn't hurt, his cars weren't hurt, it wasn't even his property as it was a storage facility, but he was angry anyway.

Hope that explains what happened.
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I had this situation with my Mom recently. I live 2 doors down from her though and was able to drive her anywhere she needs to go. I ended up swiping her keys when I took her to the Dr's office as she was very confused due to an illness and medication. She demanded them back later, but I just told her that I was worried about her harming herself or others. She was mad at first, but then she talked to my sis (who I had pre-discussed this with) and sis supported me. She got a friend to take her to her breakfast with her friends and seemed to calm down considerably. While mine is only a temporary situation, I understand what you are going through and my heart goes out to you. It is very hard to take away what little independence they have left.
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GardenA, I do not understand your description of the accidents you described. Who was driving? You or dad? Were you driving and the guy yelled at your dad? Or was dad driving, and did he have no license? The scenarios do not make sense, at least to me.
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Carey, I appreciate the explanation. Perhaps there's another way of viewing the situation though.

Would you consider it betrayal if she were injured in an accident, or if she injured others? At her age she could be seriously and permanently injured. How would you feel then? Wouldn't you regret not having stepped in if that occurred?

I think the only betrayal would be to leave her stranded, so take Babalou's advice and identify alternate means of transportation, but don't tell her until her license is revoked.

You can pretend that your family did some real quick work and discovered a, b, & c alternate means of transportation, and that you'll also pitch in and take her where she needs to go first - I'm sure transitioning from driving herself to using public transit won't be an easy task, so comfort her and take her while also getting her used to the concept of using public transit (small buses, not the major linehaul buses).

Make the trips fun ones too - stop at a place she likes (ours is the Dairy Queen), so the trip ends on a positive note
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Maybe you can ask the police to tell her that a passerby or neighbor complained of her driving, got her license and reported her. I don't know if they'd do that, but in my experience they are skilled and sympathetic to older folks who shouldn't be driving and handle it in a much more diplomatic way than civilians.

Or contact the DMV; perhaps they do audits of vehicles that haven't been reregistered. Or perhaps the police can use that pretense - that it appears as though the vehicle's registration has expired and they've been requested by the DMV to determine if the vehicle has been sold or is still being driven.

Just prepare to be shocked and sympathetic when it happens.

Believe me, the anger she feels will be nothing compared to the anguish you and the family will feel if she causes an accident. We've been through that - it was very difficult to handle. The other folks in the accident blamed me, as I was the one who was responsible for the accident and for taking away my father's license. The police were wonderful - very gentle and sympathetic to my father.

The second time it happened there was no other person involved, but the person whose property could have been damaged (but wasn't) was hysterical - yelling, hollering, shouting and intimidating my father. He even stood outside the car yelling and screaming at my father.

It took the responding police officer to calm him down. And it was very upsetting for both my father and me.
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You can call her doctor and express your doubts about her driving abilities and ask him to request a specialized OT eval of her driving skills. You can follow this up with a certified letter, showing that you expressed your concern to him.

Have a backup transportation plan in place. Find out about senior transport in her area so that when she says she can't get around, you have an answer.
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To Garden Artist: my answer above might explain a little. I appreciate your encouragement in calling the police. We are not confident of her skills, but it feels like we are betraying her, so we haven't yet.
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I would call up both state DMV's and let them know. I know that in Ohio that you must have current valid insurence and a valid drivers lisence when you drive a car. I don't know how Flordia's highway patrol or the local police force is but if they have any suspicion that she is impaired on the road, she will have a lot of answering to do. If her liscence is suspended and something happens, she might even lose it for good.
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Hmm. Your profile says age related decline. This sure sounds like dementia to me. Get her to a neuropsych for a complete workup and let them be the bad guys.
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Have your brother take the car back. Or have him disable it. Or hide the keys. If brother isn't on board, call Adult Protective Services.

"I hope I die peacefully in my sleep like mom did, not like those people who were screaming in the car she hit head on."
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I believe the doctor put some sort of medical hold on her license because the date on her record is the day before surgery. Yes, she'll get stopped while driving eventually, but what if tragedy happens first? No relatives live near her, but we have minorly disabled the car before and she has gotten it fixed! I think we have to call the police or repo the car, but she will be hateful and paranoid after. My question probably should have read, "Where do I get the guts...how do I handle the spite..."
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Let's see - your brother loaned your mother the money to buy the car, she still has the keys, she's driving on an out-of-state license in a car that may not be insured?

A doctor can recommend revocation of a license but it's a state entity that does the actual suspension. Why don't you call them, anonymously if necessary? What does your brother think about this? The security of his loan is in jeopardy if the car is totaled, not to mention what might happen to your mother or others.

I don't understand what taxes have to do with the problem - that might be a specific state issue. I'm only familiar with Michigan; we have to renew plates annually but there are no taxes paid beyond when the vehicle is purchased.

Call the Florida DMV or whatever division handles vehicle registration and ask them to notify your mother she needs to come in for a driving test. If the car is uninsured, that will have to be done in order to allow her to continue driving, if it's determined that she can. But an insurance underwriter might not want to renew the policy.

What are her skills like - can she drive safely otherwise? If not, call the local police and ask them to intervene; I believe they also can request a driving exam.

And warn your brother of this situation; perhaps he'll step in as well.
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What do you mean, her doctor suspended her license?

If the registration is expired, she'll get stopped while driving, yes?

Is there family close to where she lives who can disable the car if that's what needs to happen.?
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