There is no specific age that a person should stop driving. Senior drivers are usually safe and prudent drivers and represent the most experienced drivers on the road. That being said, family members may begin to notice that their loved one’s physical, functional, and mental abilities have drastically declined and they may become concerned about their loved one’s safety behind the wheel. In that sense, it becomes more of a question of function rather than age.
There are some warning signs that a person’s level of driving function is decreasing. For instance, the person may be becoming lost quite frequently or needing more direction from passengers. The person may also be losing confidence in driving or demonstrating frequent signs of irritation while driving. If the person has been involved in recent collisions, near misses, or traffic citations, this can also be a tell-tale sign that driving may be becoming a safety concern.
Family members cannot directly request that the Ministry of Transportation revoke a loved one’s driving privileges. However, if they have concerns about a loved one, they can discuss these concerns with their loved one’s primary care physician. This information can be very valuable to the physician as it may indicate an untreated medical problem. Family members are often in a better position to advise the physician of driving ability as they see their loved one every day and likely sit in a car with them while they are driving.
Family members can express their concerns but ultimately the physician will assess the patient’s capacity to drive. Physicians in Ontario are mandated to report medically unfit drivers to the Ministry of Transportation, who will then evaluate the driver’s ability to drive on a case-by-case basis. By notifying a physician, family members may prevent car crashes that could harm their loved one or others on the road.