Many Question When To Take The Keys From Elderly Drivers

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A jarring crash involving an elderly driver going the wrong way on a California freeway shocked thousands.

Mary Bubala takes a look at the difficult decision facing older drivers: When is it time to give up the keys?

Clarence Kinney, 83, was behind the wheel of that white Ford pick-up truck. Police say he appeared confused and couldn’t explain how he ended up driving against traffic.

The crash caused a four-car pileup on a California freeway. All the injuries were minor, but it ignited the debate about safety of some older drivers.

“It’s very representative of someone who thinks they are in good shape to be out there, but in reality making incorrect decisions,” said Jan Crye, a certified driving rehab specialist at Sinai Hospital.

Crye says families struggle with this issue.

“Maybe daddy shouldn’t be driving anymore,” said Crye. “Family members have been noticing something that’s not safe.”

That’s where a program like Sinai’s driving evaluation and training program can help make a decision.

The evaluation is a two-part process. There’s a pre-driving screening.

“We are looking at people’s vision, their reaction times, their memory, their problem solving ability, their physical capability,” said Crye.

There’s also the behind-the-wheel evaluation.

“That’s really the most important part of this evaluation process is actually getting in the car with someone and evaluating their ability to make decisions, keep the car on the road, just driving safely,” Crye said.

Crye says keys aren’t always taken away. Many times, just a small adjustment or instruction is needed.

“When you see someone moving with a walker and they don’t move very well, really question why is that guy driving, but many times we are there to validate the fact that someone is OK to be out there,” Crye said.

Families don’t need a doctor’s referral for this program. It is run as a resource for families. The costs range from $270 to $350.

Click here for more information.

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