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Dilemma, should Dad still be driving?

(89 Posts)
Ju1160 Wed 27-May-15 12:40:26

Dad is 80, starting to get a bit forgetful and his knees are beginning to fail him. However, he still has a part time job 3 days a week sat on a till at a local supermarket. He drives himself to work, then usually goes out for his tea and during the summer he will drive out somewhere to watch a cricket match or go to a local beauty spot for an ice cream!
Two weeks ago he had a minor bump in his car and now the family is split on what should happen. Some think he should not drive ever again, others think this would have such an impact on his independence it would be cruel. He is at our mercy as he has no means of going out looking for a car at the moment.
Do any of you know what the rules are about driving? I know his licence is due for renewal in 18 months.
I saw an article in the papers which said that older drivers are actually LESS likely to be in a fatal accident than younger drivers because they drive slower and also they often follow a routine & drive the same routes which are familiar to them.
Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

pompa Wed 27-May-15 12:51:23

Dodgy knees and forgetfulness are no bar to driving, I would have had to give up years ago.
What matters are his reactions and ability to concentrate. How safe do you feel when a passenger in his car ?

Charleygirl Wed 27-May-15 13:04:30

I agree with pompa. Also when did he last have an eye test?

Could he get to his job using public transport or is he reliant on his car?

Ana Wed 27-May-15 13:12:04

I feel really sorry for this man - one small bump in his car and the whole family's arguing about whether he should be forced off the road!

80 isn't such a great age these days, and as pompa says, dodgy knees and forgetfulness are no bar to driving. Unless you feel he's a danger to himself and/or others I think it would be a huge blow for him to have to give up his outings and possibly his job.

soontobe Wed 27-May-15 13:17:50

I suspect that if he is able to do a part time job at a supermarket for 3 days a week, then he is fit to drive.
Having said that, I dont suppose he would ask a doctor's advice? We are not privy to all his medical information on here.

Katek Wed 27-May-15 13:26:18

It's a difficult decision, we have a similar issue with 87 year old fil. He stays in a very small village with a minimal bus service so taking away his car would leave him housebound. He's finding it very hard after Mil died in October, so we haven't suggested anything about the car. He pops down to next village (5 miles) every morning for his papers and lunchtime roll, other than that he goes for his shopping once a week, the doctor or visits the cemetery. He's not bad behind the wheel, just s bit more hesitant perhaps at junctions. I would leave your dad to his own devices as long as he's not s danger to himself or other road users. I think he'll know himself when to stop.

Ju1160 Wed 27-May-15 13:27:07

Thank you all, yes this is how my husband & I think about it. His eyes are fine and yes he could get public transport but he couldn't just stop off and watch a cricket match if he felt like it. This is what the rest of the family are missing. They think as long as he can get to work & back and take a taxi out for his tea he will be ok. But what does he do for the rest of the time... On his day off? The thing is, it cost him nearly £30 to go out for egg and chips the other night because it was almost £10 each way in a taxi for a start! He has NEVER really cooked for himself since Mum died over 20 years ago so he's not going to start now & I worry he will live off soup, crisps & cake! I work with the elderly and know that once you take away their independence it is the beginning of the end. Sorry to be so gloomy!

Ana Wed 27-May-15 13:31:31

If he only had a small bump, why has he got to look for another car? confused

Ju1160 Wed 27-May-15 13:33:30

Hi soontobe. I agree that he's still able to work so that counts for something. Medically, he had a heart bypass 18months ago and he was driving again within 3 months. The doctors said that in respect of the surgery he was now SAFER because he had had a problem corrected, where as prior to the op he could have collapsed at the wheel at any time. ..... That said, isn't it true for all of us?

Ju1160 Wed 27-May-15 13:35:24

Hi ana, the car wasn't worth much & you know what they are like nowadays, they write them off at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately it wasn't me & my husband who sorted that one out!, might have been different.

Ana Wed 27-May-15 13:42:19

Oh dear - I expect his insurance premiums will rocket as well...

MiniMouse Wed 27-May-15 13:47:29

Two of my aunties were still driving in their nineties, like your DF, just local trips. Aunty in UK stopped after she had a few minor bumps (catching the gatepost to her driveway, clipping her wall) and Aunty in the US did similar in the local supermarket car park. Both had been very experienced drivers (US Aunty used to do a 6000 mile roundtrip every summer when she was in her late seventies!), but knew for themselves when it felt the right time to give up. I think perhaps men find it a harder decision to make. Apologies for sounding sexist! If your DF has had a minor bump it may just be a case of wait and see.

ffinnochio Wed 27-May-15 13:47:34

Start chatting to your Dad about stopping driving sometime in the future to give him time to get used to the idea that this will happen eventually. Reassess when his licence needs reviewing in 18mths. Meanwhile, embrace his independence.
Good luck.

rosesarered Wed 27-May-15 13:50:31

He seems to have a life at he enjoys, so why stop it! We all have minor bumps now and then.

soontobe Wed 27-May-15 13:54:35

I havent had a bump, minor or otherwise, for the last 23 years rosearered. I think that I have seen other gransnetters say the same.
In my case, though, I do live very rurally.

Jane10 Wed 27-May-15 13:56:36

My Mum was shocked when her GP literally said that's it and took her car keys off her! Maybe you should be discussing the possibility with him so its not such a shock if it happens?

JessM Wed 27-May-15 14:03:15

I think normally in UK you self certificate yourself as fit to drive when your licence comes up for renewal. I think a recent eye test would not be an unreasonable requirement.
But I agree people of all ages have minor bumps and that is no reason to stop driving. I have a relative of that age who still drives all the way to Spain and back!

Ana Wed 27-May-15 14:03:22

Is a GP allowed to do that? shock

rosesarered Wed 27-May-15 14:14:13

I think Soontobe that you have been very lucky.It's been the case with myself and with DH that other people have run into us, either at the supermarket or at roundabouts/junctions.Not hundreds of times, but every now and then.
I have never heard of a GP having the powers to take away anybody's car keys, the police , yes.

rosesarered Wed 27-May-15 14:15:58

JU1160 your Father is not ancient, he is 80, and I would hope to be still driving at that age and know many people much older than that who drive.

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 14:26:21

My DF at 88 stopped driving and became very depressed and totally reliant on my DM. She stopped driving at 86 because she couldn't stand him shouting at her and other drivers hmm so they're totally reliant on my sisters and me.
It's difficult but I think it needs to be his decision. Let him enjoy life while he can!

Ju1160 Wed 27-May-15 15:56:52

You all seem to be basically saying the same thing..... Life's a risk but you have to enjoy it as long as possible. I know the side of the family who disagree are thinking that way because they care for him & are afraid he will get hurt & they are trying to protect him. As I drove home this afternoon I saw a young man in a car at a junction who had a mobile phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other whist trying to negotiate a junction in busy traffic, surely the likes of him are more dangerous than an elderly person. Now if DF was trying to text while driving.............

Jane10 Wed 27-May-15 16:59:40

Re my Mum and GP. Probably not legal but I suppose he has a duty of care and was genuinely trying to do the right thing. Mum accepted it. If he thought her unsafe to drive then she most likely was! He couldn't knowingly allow her to put herself and other road users at risk.

annodomini Wed 27-May-15 17:11:52

When my uncle developed cataracts, either his optician or his GP contacted the DVLA and he was told his licence couldn't be renewed. This was a blow to him, but sadly he died just a few weeks later so it never became an issue. I think a medical adviser has a duty to report such a situation.

Ana Wed 27-May-15 17:19:24

Yes, I'm sure your mum's GP was right to tell her she was no longer fit to drive, Jane10, I just thought the taking of the car keys was a bit OTT!