Senior Driver Agreement

Part 1

Aging is unavoidable and so is its impact on the ability to safely drive a car. The older drivers become, the more their driving records start to look like those of brand-new drivers. Our very youngest and very oldest drivers are the groups that have losses significantly out of proportion to their numbers. State licensing laws, driving schools and testing control that begins to drive when we are young. Continued age and driving experience greatly improve the abilities of young drivers. That is NOT the case for the elderly.

After a certain point, typically age 70, driving skills significantly deteriorate. It’s to be expected. With advanced age, all of the attributes necessary to drive began to decline: our reflexes, our eyesight, our hearing, attention spans, etc. Further, aging usually means the onset of other physical impairments that also affect driving. The concern is what should be done when driving skills diminish to the point that one becomes a danger to others?

While, via the regulations of the state where you live, driving is a legal privilege, most of us treat driving as a right. Driving has long been regarded as a rite of passage, one of the gateways to adulthood. It is also the key to be a full participant in life; providing us the freedom to pursue education, later work, and social activities. The result is that drivers, even when problems become obvious, rarely freely significantly restrict or give up their licenses.

It’s sad, but often, family, friends and loved ones are forced to become adversaries in the pursuit of having aging, impaired drivers, recognize that unrestricted driving is no longer safe or practical. It would be helpful if there were some tool to help us accept the news that the time has come to make a driving change. One tool may be a Senior Driver Agreement.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2018

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.


Senior Driver Agreement

Part 2

In part one we wrote about aging meaning the inevitable diminishment of our ability to drive. This situation creates the difficult decision of when we should restrict or, even, give up our driver’s license. One method that may help us accept such a momentous change is a Senior Driving Agreement (SDA).

An SDA is an informal contract where, when certain circumstances arise, the person named in the document voluntarily agrees to either significant restrict or to give up his or her driving privileges. In most cases, the ultimate decision should be to surrender the license.

There is no standard form, but it should have a number of key elements, such as the person or persons who are to monitor the driver, the name of the driver, the circumstances that trigger action and action steps. Remember, the document may have to operate for a number of years, moving from implementing restrictions and onward until driving privileges end. There could also be an omnibus clause where the driver agrees to give up driving immediately under specified conditions.

Note, the conditions of the agreement can be stair-stepped, such as, when there is a noticeable decrease in m


Senior Driver Agreement

Part 3

In parts one and two we wrote about the use of a senior driving agreement as a way to deal with reducing (and eliminating) a senior citizen’s driving privileges. This article discusses how to determine the level of diminished driving skills. Measuring driving skills falls primarily into two, distinct categories. One is a driving skill evaluation and the other is a clinical evaluation.

Driving Skills Evaluation

Evaluations involve looking into simple nuts and bolts such as:

  • What is the current level of driving? (driving at all times of day/night, driving during heavy traffic, driving in bad weather, etc.)
  • How well does driver know and follow traffic laws?
  • What habits does the driver have which may cause distractions?
  • What, if any, negative aspects of the total driving situation may be readily altered?

Driving skills evaluations do not involve consideration of any medical issues which may affect vehicle operation.

Clinical Evaluation

Clinical assessments focus on possible medical problems. Making proper assessments means using a person with specialized training who has the ability to discern various conditions and how they may impact driving.

Besides involving a health professional, the assessment must take place at facilities with the proper equipment to facilitate any needed tests. At the end of a session, a medical opinion should be available that rests anywhere along the range from “abilities are fine and unaffected by medical conditions” to “medical issues are such that driving privileges should be terminated.”  Most instances will fall between the two extremes and a professional can help with recommendations to improve most impaired situations.

Driver assessments may be made by outside organizations such as driving associations or clubs. Both doctors and occupational therapists are excellent resources for performing clinical evaluations. These are both sensible steps in addressing possible problems faced by many elderly drivers.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2019

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.