Age-Based Driving Restrictions: How to Help an Older Relative to Stay on the Road While Staying Safe
It's natural to take an interest in the welfare of an aging parent or relative, and yet you don't want to seem patronising or even controlling with your interest. Are you at all concerned about the times when your parent or relative gets behind the wheel? For them to give up driving is to lose a certain degree of independence, and it might simply not be an option for them to no longer be able to drive. Aside from the practicalities, to no longer be mobile in the way that driving allows can also be extremely disheartening. Of course, there are some legal requirements that might be imposed upon older drivers over which they have no control. If your parent or relative is about to be subjected to one of these requirements, there are a few things you can do to help them keep their driver's licence and to keep their independence while staying safe on the roads.
Potential Restrictions Will Vary
Any potential driving restrictions that are imposed once a certain age has been reached will vary depending on where the person lives. For example, Victoria does not impose any such restrictions, whereas Western Australia will require an assessment once the driver has reached the age of 80. Contact the Department of Transport (or equivalent) in your state or territory if you're unsure, but generally speaking, a notification will be sent by post to the driver shortly before their birthday when any restrictions will become relevant. So what needs to be done if your parent or relative receives a notification?
The notification will come with a form that needs to be completed by their doctor. This is essentially a declaration from their primary healthcare provider that they are still medically fit to drive. The doctor will then send the completed form to the transport authority in your state or territory, and no further action might be required. But what can you do if the doctor is hesitant to state that your parent or relative should still be permitted to drive?
What You Can Do
Check to see if it's a physical issue that can be overcome or at least mitigated. This might involve a vision or hearing test, along with new glasses or even hearing aids (if necessary). You could also arrange for your parent or relative to undergo a driving refresher course at a local driving school. This allows for a professional assessor to check the driver's abilities behind the wheel, pointing out any areas that need to be improved upon (if at all). So really, it might be a case of obtaining additional endorsements as to the driver's continued capabilities.
It would be a shame for many older drivers if they were no longer permitted to drive themselves, but there are quite a few things you can do to help them stay on the road while staying safe.