By Noelia Manuel-Perez
In 2017 there was more that 200 billion drivers in the us and out of that adult from the age range of fifty to sixty-nine 92.3 percent of them still had their drivers license active. From the age range of seventy to eighty-four 84.7 percent. Lastly from the age, range of eighty-five and up 60.8 percent of that population still had their license valid (“Highway Finance Data Collection” 2010.)
In Florida, elders that are eighty and older are required to renew their license every six years. The renewal time should change to every year or two because physical and mental factors can change. Physically, as you get older you start losing your strength and it gets harder to complete certain tasks. Mentally, the level of concentration and speed of decision-making changes. If this isn’t changed then the starting age should change, because each human body develops differently, the conditions that an eighty-year-old has could also be conditions that a sixty or even fifty-year-old can have.
Seniors should take yearly test. Yearly check-ups with a doctor and if they see any factors that could affect the patients driving then they should be able to notify their patient to prevent any accidents. If a doctor does not tell you but you do see any problems affecting your driving then please do consider giving up your driving right. Giving up your driving rights is hard but an accident should not need to happen in order for giving up a driver’s license to be an option.
When to Give up Driving Rights
When giving up driving right your eyesight, medical, and physical conditions are factors to take in consideration. If you notice that your eyesight has been decreasing, or your vision starts blurring throughout the day then schedule an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to see whether it is safe to continue driving. Until then try to avoid driving.
Aside from your eyesight, any medical conditions can affect our driving. If you have recently had a stroke, brain injury or any disease that affects any decision-making skills then avoid driving (“Which Medical Conditions Affect Your Ability to Drive?” 2018.) These conditions can affect the speed of your reactions when driving, for example having to do unexpected stop or if a something suddenly distracts you.
Physical abilities that also need to be taken in consideration are whether your body has the strength to control the vehicle or if any adjustments need to be made to the vehicle (Larsen 2010). Examples are if you are not able to hold the steering wheel in place for a long period of time or making turns has become a harder task to complete, then this could be another reason to give up your driving privilege.
Giving up Driving Rights
Giving up the right to drive is a huge step because transportation has become a key role in one’s day and because of this to many its like giving up their freedom. Giving up the right is not a punishment but helps avoid any future accident and consequences. It better for you and for those on the road. Once you do make the decision call your local DMV and ask whether an appointment is required as well as ask for the necessary paperwork needed (“Seniors: How to Surrender Your License.”)
Once you have given up your license then the next step is to cancel your car insurance or remove yourself from it. like previously mentioned one less thing to pay every month. The last thing that should be done is if no one is no longer going to be driving the car then consider selling it. This could help you pay of any debt or even go on a small vacation (“Seniors: How to Surrender Your License.”)
Traffic and parking tickets will not be a problem. Whether the gas prices will rise or drop will not be something to worry. Any car troubles like new tires or oil changes will be gone and no more paying car insurance! The most important benefit is eliminating the constant worriedness and stress that a love one has on whether you will arrive to your destinations safely is an important thing to take in consideration. The last thing that one wants is to cause any form of trouble to our love ones.
Other Forms of Transportation
In Florida we are privileged enough to have public transportation which is the PSTA buses. They have a senior special citizens program which gives their passenger a reduced fare and they have more than 5000 bus stops. We have taxis which you can call for a quicker form of transportation. And lastly, we have Ubers and Lyfts which with just an application on your phone you can have a driver come to you like a taxi but in a way much safer.
If you want, an eco-friendlier way to get around you could consider biking. With this, you will not have to budget money for gasoline. You will get your exercise done which benefits your body. I do advise that this option should be taken in consideration if bad eyesight was not the reason for giving up the license.
These factors should be taken inconsideration over time or if your personal driving conditions change. It is a big step but it is an important subject that needs to be brought up more often. Like previously mentioned an unfortunate event does not need to happen in order for giving up your license to be an option.
“Highway Finance Data Collection.” U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration, May 2010, www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/pubs/hf/pl11028/chapter4.cfm.
Larsen, Dana. “Should Seniors Be Required to Take Driving Tests?” Senior Assisted Living Guides: Find Senior Care A Place for Mom, A Place for Mom, 27 June 2018, www.aplaceformom.com/blog/seniors-and-the-driving-debacle-when-should-you-take-away-the-keys/.
“Looking For Data On How Many Drivers in the USA in 2019?” Hedges & Company, Hedges & Company, 2017, hedgescompany.com/blog/2018/10/number-of-licensed-drivers-usa/.
“Seniors: How to Surrender Your License.” DMV.ORG, www.dmv.org/senior-driving/how-to-surrender-license.php.
“Which Medical Conditions Affect Your Ability to Drive?” SafeWise, SafeWise, 11 Dec. 2018, www.safewise.com/faq/auto-safety/medical-conditions-safe-driving/.
Header photo from Jim Dodson Law.