Senior driver's evaluation; Not really a question, but some interesting stuff.


My husband had to go through an evaluation for driving skills. He figured it would be easy peasy as he has driven one sort of thing or another since he was a kid.

They went over doing tasks and he is not able to correctly complete a 3 step task.

They tested his reaction times with a fake gas pedal and a brake. His reaction times were just under the low passing.

His peripheral reactions were markedly slow on the right side but pretty good, he passed that.

The recommendations will be for him to be able to drive very locally in our rural area, only during daytime hours.

He was okay with that as he rarely drives now anyway.


Yesterday my MIL went to court for her Guardianship hearing. She is 87 with moderate dementia and she insists on driving but we have her vehicle at the farm.

She will be scheduled by her Guardian to have a Driver's Evaluation. She is very unhappy with that decision and told me she can drive just fine.

Sadly, I don't believe she can even make the walk out to where her car would be in her parking lot!

So it should be interesting to see what her test will be like compared to my husband's test.

The driving eval took about 90 minutes. They test thinking skills, reaction times, and a short visual screening.

I strongly encourage anyone who thinks someone should not drive to have one of these tests if you can convince them to!



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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

@Busymom - I totally hear you. South Carolina must have a higher stat about people without driving capacity getting in accidents.

@jellybean18095 - As @Toadhall said, unfortunately, the police would not understand. In fact, they would arrest me. And, even if they didn't, he would buy another car. I am powerless without the authorities.
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Reply to mgogoing

Thank you for posting this.
I believe the DMV needs to offer a nationwide marketing blast (from billboards to mailers) informing everyone that these tests are not only available, they are essential to the safety of all concerned - the driver, other drivers on the road - all pedestriains walking or near a car (people/kids on bikes, motorcycles). One of the most difficult aspects of an elder or anyone with dementia losing independence is their losing their ability to drive and their insistence (and fight) that they can drive okay. If necessary unplug or take out the part in the car that won't allow a person to drive. I've known elders (clients) who call the police (on their own adult children) complaining of their car not starting or a loved one took their keys away - or they hide the extra set of keys. Many elders will fight 'til the end' to continue to drive - putting themselves and everyone else at risk. Gena
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Reply to TouchMatters

Thanks for the info. Let us know how it goes. People do not realize how complicated driving is when it is done right. This is why doing anything else (phone, eating, etc) while driving is not a good idea.
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Reply to Toadhall

I understand that sometimes physical and mental issues make driving impossible. However, BEFORE you take the privilege of driving a car away from someone, YOU MUST BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN YOU CAN PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MEANS TO THEM FOR ACCOMPLISHING WHAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO DO IF THEY WERE DRIVING. If you don't do this, it is cruel and sadistic to the ex-driver and many problems will come up. Don't take something away, even with a very valid reason, unless you replace it with a suitable alternative - and keep your word.
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Reply to Lockett2166
Val3rie Aug 14, 2018
Well in answer to your shouts, think of this. If a person cannot drive safely do you allow them to keep driving even if regular transportation is not easy to schedule?
I absolutely won't let my MIL drive as she has had speeding tickets and accidents and I couldn't live with myself if I gave her the car back and she killed someone.
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In Texas, if you pass the eye exam they’ll renew you license for 2 more years. But before I knew this, I asked dad if they tested him before renewing his license and he said yes AND that he’d passed. He didn’t want me to know that he was not required to retake an actual driving test. At 87 dad was still riding his Honda 600 and driving his van. Obviously dad was in excellent shape for his age. I had also riden with him and he did well until his early 90’s. He only drove to church, grocery store, and my house every evening for dinner. Then I started noticing scratches and dents on his van and he told me they’d been there for some time and I just never noticed. Well my sweet dad was being less than honest. Yes taking away his freedom felt like betrayal and certainly one of the most difficult things I had ever done up to that point. It was the first of many freedoms that I would be tasked with relinquishing. During a trip to visit my son and family I received a call from his in home caregiver. This day, dad refused to let his caregiver drive. In a parking lot, he hit an oncoming car and a parked car at the same time. We had a frank discussion when we returned and after 2 hours of asking him to give me his keys, I literally had to reach into his pocket and take the keys from him. It was awful. He denied the caregiver’s accounting of the accident wherein he left the scene without leaving a note on the parked vehicle or exchanging information with the other driver. Once I had the remote and his keys and was ready to leave, he proudly announced that he had a spare set of keys. Having no more patience my husband and I took the battery from the vehicle and went home. A few days later we drove the van to our house where it remained until we sold it. For about 60 days I had to endure countless phone calls requesting the return of his vehicle and he made many calls to my sibling complaining about me. It also meant I was now responsible for running his errands... no good deed goes unpunished. As much as I despise government regulations, each and every state would be doing everyone a great service if at age 80 they required the same test we put our teenagers through before licensure. But until this happens we have to be the “bad guys”. But I looked at it as saving lives and avoiding a potential law suit. Later that same year, upon moving to an AL facility, he would introduce me as, “the one who took his van and sold his house”. Yes indeed, I no longer had my birth name and received nasty looks from dad’s new friends. Oh well. If your state doesn’t test the elderly, do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor and get your aging, elderly loved one off the road.
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Reply to jellybean18095
Harpcat Aug 13, 2018
I am proud of you!! No telling whose life you may have saved. I too often say no good deed goes unpunished. It’s like a mantra!
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Take off distributor cap or something easy to reach ??? Then complain that doggone it ! Everytime we try to drive it ourselves it wont work till we fiddle with it ... but dont show piece needed to make it work.
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Reply to Betsysue2002

God bless family members who have sense enough to protect their loved ones, and the lives of others by stepping in to prevent tragedy by motor vehicles!
my dear dad, age 80 with dementia, simply refused to give up driving. His brave doctor in NY suspended his license but he continued to hop in the car and lie about driving. We recently moved him to be closer to family out-of-state, and lo and behold, he’s applying for a new license, lying on the form where it asks “is your license suspended in another state.” He thinks no one will find out. The form is long and he can’t fill it out correctly, and as his daughter, I cannot in good faith allow him to get behind the wheel.
This is an ongoing saga, and I understand he needs to feel independent, but my advice- please look out for the safety of others. A car is like a loaded gun... capable of destruction when put into the wrong hands!
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Reply to Dadsakid

In Virginina you can fill out a DMV form that triggers a driver investigation--family members or doctors can remain confidential. I reported my 91 year old mother because she's had strokes and dementia, can no longer follow conversations or news stories, gets stuck on most websites and gets lost when driving on unfamiliar roads. She'd lock me out of her life if I tried to talk about her driving with her. She's had at least two speeding tickets within a month on local streets and is terrifying on freeways, driving between 65 and 92 mph in 55 mph zones. Once I sent the report, someone from the DMV called me to discuss it and at the end of the conversation said that my mother would be getting a letter requiring her to get a medical check up as well as written and driving tests. I thought about it for a long time before sending the letter but finally did mail it because she came within a hair of smashing me into a concrete highway divider at 92 mph on a long trip. Of course I don't want her to hurt anyone so it seemed time to ask the DMV to take an official look. The whole thing is still in process.
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Reply to Davina
Toadhall Aug 13, 2018
I thank God you are still alive! You did the right thing. It took a lot of courage to do it. I hope the DMV sets her straight. VA is better than PA.
I know there are many Canadian followers as well. I would be interested to learn about what steps anyone has gone through for their loved one? I don’t think my dad would pass, but maybe it would help him put it in the past about getting his license back.
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Reply to Kingsbridge
Val3rie Aug 14, 2018
My MIL had 3 doctors tell her that she shouldn't drive. She insists they are wrong, so she has agreed to a neuro-pyschological test that will also test her reflexes and thinking skill in relation to driving.
She believes that she is just getting a DMV test.

Most of our local hospitals have a Physical Therapy department that will set up testing for elderly drivers.