On January 1st, Virginia implemented tougher rules for elderly drivers. They include requiring the individuals to renew in person, renewing their license every 5 years (instead of 8), and passing the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ vision requirements or presenting a vision statement no older than 90 days from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
When we started to see dings on my dad’s car multiplying, we stopped asking him to pick up the kids from school. When they would get lost driving to my house, I was very concerned about having them behind the wheel and the safety of the other drivers on the road. They had driven to my home hundreds of times and my dad began to get repeatedly lost on his way over. When he finally did arrive, he would be relieved, but had no recall of any previous instances. My dad was finally diagnosed for Alzheimer’s.
My parents felt that driving was a right, not a privilege. I recognized and appreciate the need to be able to get around, but they were unsafe drivers long before the doctor finally submitted the papers to the DMV to rescind their licenses. They bought into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), but would repeatedly tell us they weren’t old enough to move in full-time.
For detailed information on how we dealt with and managed this, you can read a summary of the steps we took that I posted as we were facing this very issue.
I’m glad the state is taking some action, but know that my parents would have passed the test well into the first few years of dementia. I believe that driving is a privilege we should have to earn probably more frequently than the initial milestones when we are in our teens and now these minor checks at 75. My parents managed to renew their license early and I shared my concern back in 2012 that the DMV was not doing enough. I consider this often as I imagine where my husband and I should live next and how we might manage our driving. Pondered.
Please share what your state has done about this issue, if anything.