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My 81-year-old dad loves to drive, but I'm worried about his driving. What can I do?
He's come close to getting into an accident several times recently.

My 81-year-old dad loves to drive, but I'm worried about his driving. What can I do? - Answer

If you’re concerned about a parent’s ability to drive safely, talk to them as soon as possible about your concerns. Be calm, supportive, and understanding. Provide specific examples and explore options with them. Even though they may want to keep driving, they may need to make changes. For example, you can suggest they:

  • not drive at night or in bad weather
  • not drive on highways
  • only drive on streets they know 
  • leave lots of space between their car and the car in front of them
  • take a driver safety refresher course for older drivers

If you think it’s unsafe for a parent to continue driving, talk to them about having a medical exam to check their vision, hearing, cognition, and so on. You can also discuss other ways they can get around. For example, family and friends may be able to help with rides or they may want to consider taking a bus, taxi, or ride share. If you're lucky, they may decide to retire their licence and enjoy being a passenger.

It can be very difficult for a driver to have to turn in their licence. If they flat-out refuse to stop driving and you believe they shouldn’t be on the road, you may need to contact RoadSafetyBC to report your concerns. They can request that a driver complete a driver medical exam. Or, in a case where RoadSafetyBC has current, reliable information showing that a driver’s medical condition puts the public’s safety at risk, the driver’s licence may be immediately cancelled

ICBC has more information and tips for senior drivers, as does HealthLink BC’s page about healthy aging and when it’s time to stop driving

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) also offers a toolkit with assessment tools and expert advice for older drivers. CarFit, offered by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, is another educational program available to older drivers.

Sarah Leamon
Sarah Leamon Law Group
Reviewed January 2021

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