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.

More from Mary Bubala
  • who cares

    sometimes it takes a accident for them to relize its time to stop driving. and hopefully no one gets hurts in the process.

  • Barbara Euler Hutchison

    This incident should lead to legislation to require driving tests yearly for elderly drivers – no more just mailing in the license renewal !! Way too many are out there as tragedies waiting to happen – sad but true – driving is a privilege not a right

    • keith

      hey barbara….equalioty under the law is THE LAW! if your proposal was to go through, all ages & drivers would have to go for a yearly renewel & retest. also, there isnt much chance of that passing, the AARP is the single largest lobbying body in the entire country.

  • j in the dena

    i think when they turn 70 they should be re-evaluated because just getting stuck behind one is dangerous they are all over the road they do way under the spped limit its frusterating and dangerous

  • Anna Marie

    Maybe they should test some of the young people who drive so recklessly. What happened to that elderly person could happen to anyone. Barbara, you will be elderly before you know it.

  • cary

    There should be a physical driving test for every license renewal for every license holder regardless of age.

  • moleman

    The government won’t crack down because: The elderly vote in large numbers,it’s a money maker for the state collecting this fees. The elderly drive more cautious than punk teens yaking on a cell phone or texting, or having sex while driving, picking their noses, playing with the GPS,RADIO.

  • anon

    Please help me, I need to report an elderly driver who has recently been in an accident. The driver falls asleep during conversation, in the middle of conversation, has trouble with some basic physical movements as well as vision issues. I believe the driver caused an accident last year and made excuses up about swerving to hit a deer – this was over $8K of damage to the car. I need to report the driver so they do not cause anyone harm. I cannot find out how to report the driver anonymously and fear I could harm my husband’s family relationships were they to find out I reported him. I would be happy if the driver was evaluated and tested, it would be clear he is not safe to be on the roads anymore. This is in CT.

    • jan

      Please contact my office @ 4106017363 and i can help you

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