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ACT Older Drivers Handbook


Council on Aging


This valuable handbook provides insights, communication tips, plus words that speak directly to older drivers.

>>Download PDF

Suspect in Breaux death charged with criminally negligent homicide

Heath Urie | 03.04.09

Boulder Camera


BOULDER, Colo. — The woman accused of killing beloved Louisville resident John Breaux in a Jan. 30 roadside accident broke down into tears inside a Boulder County courtroom Wednesday, telling her attorney and family, “I put so many people through so much.”


Mary Jo Anne Thomas, 62, was charged Wednesday morning with a single count of criminally negligent homicide, after toxicology tests found that she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.


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AAA Foundation Traffic Safety


This valuable resource includes videos on Left Turn, 2-Way Stop, Yield, and Merge. >>More

When should Alzheimer's patients stop driving?

Lauren Neergaard | 04.06.09

AP Medical Writer


WASHINGTON — Scientists are creating tests to show when it's time for people with early Alzheimer's disease to stop driving.

It's one of a family's most wrenching decisions, and as Alzheimer's increasingly is diagnosed in its earliest stages, it can be hard to tell when a loved one is poised to become a danger.>>More

From California to Illionois to Florida, Oh My!: The Need for a More Uniform Driver's License Renewal Policy

David Rosenfeld | The Elder Law Journal

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


A great deal of controversy surrounds the area of driver’s license renewal reform with regard to the elderly. A variety of solutions have been implemented to address this issue, resulting in inconsistent regulation throughout the country. In this note, David Rosenfield examines this issue and the need for more uniform driver’s license renewal policies in which age plays a significant factor.>>Download PDF

Very Good Advice

In This Book



How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders




Safe Driving for Older Adults

Gretchen Heuring | ElderThink | 04.06.09


Recently, John Breaux was riding his bicycle to pick up trash along a road near where I live. It was his commitment to the community to help in this way. He was about ten feet from the pavement when Mary Jo Anne Thomas swerved toward him and killed him with her car. Mary Jo has Alzheimer's and is 62. Tragically, her life is over too.


In the U.S., about half the states have provision for older adult drivers. Most of these require only that older persons renew licenses more frequently than younger folks.


All states have fitness provisions for everyone. So if fitness to drive for anyone is in doubt state licensing agencies can require people to retake driving tests and/or to have physical or mental exams. The problem is, there are very few guidelines about fitness of older adults. No states have tests that would identify problems of driving at night, for example.


States can restrict a person's driving in special ways including driving at night, driving within a radius of home, or restrict driving to specific places. The renewal cycle for individual licenses can also be shortened. Unfortunately, few take advantage of these laws and consider the abilities of the person who has come in to renew a license.


We have prepared a chart showing the requirements for older persons in each state and links to each state's driving license requirements. >>More

Older Drivers, Elderly Driving, Seniors at the Wheel


In the next 20 years the number of elderly drivers (persons 70 & over) is predicted to triple in the United States. As age increases, older drivers generally become more conservative on the road. Many mature drivers modify their driving habits (for instance to avoid busy highways or night-time driving) to match their declining capabilities. However, statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections.


Older drivers need to be aware that medications can significantly impair their driving by making them drowsy or distracted. Physicians and pharmacists should be consulted before starting new medications, to see if the drug can affect the ability to drive. Since side effects are often worse for the first few days of a new medication, people should avoid driving until they know exactly how a new drug affects them. If any medication causes sleepiness or disorientation, someone else should do the driving.


Eyes change with age. They lose the ability to focus quickly. Peripheral vision narrows and the retina becomes less sensitive to light. Physical activity is needed to keep a person strong and flexible for those quick reactions needed while driving. To be a safe driver, paying attention to road conditions and your own body changes is essential. A person's chronological age is not an absolute predictor of driving ability, but its impact should not be denied. Ultimately, however, what counts on the road is performance. >>More