While age alone is not a reason to discontinue driving, older adults and their families should assess driving ability periodically, both to determine ways of improving driving skills or adapting the vehicle, and to evaluate whether the individual is still capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Here are two programs that help adults to improve driving skills:
AARP Driver Safety Programis a classroom driver improvement course specially designed for motorists aged 55 and older. This 8-hour, two-day course helps drivers refine existing skills and develop safe, defensive driving techniques. Contact AARP Maine: 1-866-554-5380 for more information or visit http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/driver_safety/.
Safe Driving for Mature Operators Programis offered through the American Automobile Association (AAA). This 6-hour driver improvement course designed to increase safe driving for those 55 years of age and older who are interested in the effects aging has on their driving ability. Call AAA at 1-800-647-4651 or visit www.aaane.com/auto/safety.
What should you do if you are concerned about an older person’s driving? Sometimes it is easier to enlist an outsider to help with the discussion. An old friend, a healthcare provider, a clergy person, or a social worker might be the best to address the issue of safety as a driver. It may be logical and appropriate to have the issued raised in connection with periodic retesting for a driver’s license. If you are not sure whether the person is still capable of driving safely, the instructor of a driver's education refresher course might be able to make an impartial professional assessment. There are also programs where occupational therapists offer driver evaluations and recommendations. Consult your doctor or the Agency on Aging for more information.