The decision to stop driving is a difficult one for many senior citizens, but it can be the right choice for their safety and everyone else on the road.
Although there is an age restriction on when you can get behind the wheel, there isn’t one for when you need to adjust to life as a passenger. Senior citizens can outlive their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years. They’re also at a greater risk for serious injury or death if involved in an accident. A year ago, 94-year-old Ernest Hunter knew it was time to stop driving. “I felt like I was not quite as alert as I got older. I figured it was time to give it up.”
It’s a difficult topic, but if a senior citizen is not feeling as comfortable or alert while driving it might be time to hit the brakes and to change gears. If a senior is not willing to get off the road, there are steps loved ones can take. A letter of concern must be sent to drivers records in Jackson. From there, the driver will complete an eye and medical exam.
After these are complete, a doctor will send a recommendation to Highway Patrol based on the results of the test. Mississippi Highway Patrol will have a hearing to determine the stability of the driver. Justin Elkins with Mississippi Highway Patrol said,“It’s difficult whenever you try to take away a freedom that someone has had for so long.”
A license can be revoked or restrictions can be put on it, such as not being allowed to drive at night or speed restrictions. “Whenever those thoughts may come about that someone is not capable of driving safely on the highways and roadways any more than those measures should be taken,”said Elkins.
Families need to start the discussion before any accidents occur, but put yourself in their shoes and be understanding so they don’t feel attacked or stereotyped.
If you have any ideas for the Senior Matters segment, send story ideas to Newsrelease@wxxv25.com or send a letter to WXXV-TV 14351 HWY 49 North Gulfport, MS 39503 ATTN: News Department.