HELP! We Want Dad to Stop Driving

key with car in backgroundHelp! My father is 87 and has had a minor accident. My sibling and I would like to see him give up his license and keep him safe, not to mention others. He won't give it up freely! We don't want to be disinherited either! Who or what do we contact without him knowing? I have tried the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, who is no help as they want a report.


This Situation Probably Won't Ever Have an Easy Answer

You may wish to make your first stop here, at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and their publication titled How to Help an Older Driver. It's a PDF document about 4.5 Mb in size that discusses preparation for the eventual surrender of a parent's drivers license. There's lots to think about in it.

You may be surprised to find that it is not time. My neighbour is in her 80's and her daughter was after her to stop driving. She decided on her own to go to one of our local driving schools and have her skills assessed. The driving instructor told her that she was still driving safely and should keep her license. Of course, this gave her an unbiased second opinion to present to her daughter that hopefully put the daughter's mind at rest for now.

Yes, the Superintendent requires a formal report of a driving situation where the person complaining is identifiable. If you think about that for a moment, you can easily understand why. If someone that is either misguided or malicious were to report you as unfit, should anonymous complaints be accepted, you would be subject to the expenditure of time and money to show that you were in fact fit to drive. Our privacy laws are such that if the reported driver asks, the Superintendent will not reveal who made the report but it may be discoverable from the content of the letter which will be disclosed. If, for instance, you write about being worried about my mother's ability to drive, it can only be one of her children responsible for writing the letter.

It is an awkward situation for a son or daughter to be in. I learned a bit about the tensions when my own grandfather caused everyone to start considering this decision and it was not a pleasant one for all involved.

I suppose that ultimately it is up to you to try and decide the point where you can no longer live with the risk knowing that you failed to act and your father hurt himself or someone else through the operation of his vehicle.

It would be interesting to find out if you were at risk of legal action for failing to act if that eventuality did occur. Our courts do make some interesting decisions. I will inquire and see if I can find out about it...

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