Should Dad be driving?
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 12:05pm
In 2018 Maine was found to have the 3rd highest aging population, just behind California and Florida. With an aging population many things come up, one of which is when the elderly should stop driving. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, I know a 102-year-old man whom a great driver and I know a 47-year-old who forgets to stop at stop signs. Age isn’t the factor its competence. The state of Maine has put in place regulations and restrictions to help weed out some of these factors. One thing Maine does that not all states do is they accept “requests” from ANYONE with personal knowledge of the driver in question. If you have a concern you can call your local or state DMV and request that the person in question be reviewed.
Telling a parent or -grandparent that they shouldn’t be driving anymore can be very difficult and cause a rift between loved ones. I myself have been told more then once, “I’ve been driving since before you were in diapers!” How do you argue with that? My parents have spent their whole lives teaching me, helping me, and nurturing me…now I want to remove their freedom? It may be for the best, but I know they are not seeing it that way.
Once the request is made the Bureau of Motor vehicles will then request the person to come in for a road test and eye exam. After the exam, the state has several options. The state can restrict the driver to driving only during daylight hours, only within so many miles of their home to removing their license altogether. One of the best things I have found working in the health care field is that there are a lot of doctors who are willing to make the call to the DMV for you. This means your call your loved one’s primary care doctor and asks them to tell the loved one that they are at a point in life that they need a driving exam. This takes the heat off of you and lets you save face while the professionals request a driving exam. You won’t know what you PCP can do for you if you don’t ask.
The state of Maine also has stricter regulations than other states when renewing your license. For instance, a vision test is required after age 40 to renew your license and then every other time you renew your license after that until you turn 62 at which point you have to do a vision exam every time you renew your license. Another interesting thing that Maine does is require anyone who is 65 or older to renew their license every 4 years instead of every 6 years. At any time the DMV can require you to take a written exam, a driving exam, an eye exam; this is 100% their discretion.
Don’t let a loved one driving scares you, take the matter into your own hands and make the call today!
For more information contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles by calling 207-624-9000 or visiting them at 101 Hospital Street, Augusta, ME. You can also correspond by mail, their mailing address is 29 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.