How To Gently Tell Seniors Theyre Not Safe On The Road

01.18.11 | Sarah Harnisch

   At what point should a senior citizen be asked to hang up the keys and say off the roads in New York and Pennsylvania?
  It's a touchy, yet important subject, says Jodi Olshevski, a gerontologist with the Hartford Insurance Company. Her group worked in conjunction with AARP and the MIT AgeLab on a study about the issue. She says that they reccommend family members get in the car if they're concerned about either a friend or a relative and  look for patterns of warning signs -- not just whether they're happening, but whether there's an increase in frequency and severity of these warning signs.
          Ann McCartt is a researcher with the insurance institute for highway safety. She says per mile driven, older drivers do have a higher crash rate. Although, research suggests that they also are becoming more aware of their limitations. Many older drivers, if they're aware of impairment, do try to restrict their driving. So they might drive fewer miles or they might not choose to drive at night or in rush hour traffic.
          Their study found 1 in 10 adults are concerned about an older family member's ability to drive, but more then 30 percent have not addressed it.
          If you're concerned, there is something to help you out. Tips to help you talk with elders, even how to bring the subject up, are here.