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Should your loved one continue driving?

Posted Aug 18 2010 1:46pm

Are you wondering if your loved one should still be driving?
How can you get involved without being accused of preventing his/her independence?

This year, my California driver’s license came up for renewal. I had the option of renewing online–no standing in line, getting a picture taken, or having to take a test. (I suffer from test anxiety.)

Two areas stood out in the process–

  1. the Medical Information Acknowledgment and Donor Consent Form. If your state offers something similar, this medical acknowledgment form will be instrumental in helping you discuss with your loved one if it’s appropriate for him/her to continue driving.
  2. how you, a potential organ donor, may be turned off by the federal guidelines if you take time to read the small print.

The Medical Information Acknowledgment

If you’re a caregiver for a loved one who is approaching that period in his/her life when driving poses a greater risk than the independence it affords, you may want to take a look at the criteria on the medical acknowledgment form. States vary on how they handle this and some states may not address this at all. The following is the one I acknowledged for the state of California:

Please read the following and click the box below to confirm you have read the information.

The Department of Motor Vehicles must be notified through this application if, within the last 3 years, you have:

  • Experienced a loss of consciousness; or
  • Had any episode of marked confusion caused by any condition which may bring about recurring lapse; or
  • Had any disease, disorder, or disability (examples of these are epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease); or other progressive condition; or
  • Health problems because of alcohol or drug abuse; or
  • Have had any vision changes since your last renewal. Examples of these are:

I have read the above medical information.

Since your last renewal, have you had or experienced any medical or vision condition(s) which affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely?

Yes      No

If “Yes” please provide an explanation below (Maximum characters: 255)

Telephone Number including area code (optional) (      ) -

For caregivers concerned about a loved one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, these above criteria bear serious consideration. Start by discussing these with your loved one then with his/her doctor. If you are still not able to get results, discuss the above items with a member of the DMV. Be sure to document your conversations (date, time, who contacted, what said) in case you are held liable as guardian.

Read Organ Donor Consent? for the second part of this article.

We welcome your experience or other comments regarding this story.

Brenda Avadian, MA

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