Are Indiana Seniors Safe Behind the Wheel?
April 13, 2015
Beginning the conversation about giving up driving with an Indiana senior loved one can be difficult for family members. For most people, driving represents freedom. Maintaining an ability to drive helps each of us protect our independence and our pride. For adult children, however, driving can be a source of concern. Not knowing if an aging parent is still safe behind the wheel or how to tell if it is time for them to hang up the keys isn’t easy.
Because everyone ages differently, age isn’t the only factor to consider. While there are undeniable changes that come with aging – loss of flexibility, vision problems, slower reflexes - requiring someone to hand over their car keys just because they have reached a milestone birthday isn’t the answer.
How can adult children tell when it is time to put the brakes on an Indiana senior’s driving?
Here are a few suggestions that can help you to objectively evaluate an Indiana senior loved one’s driving abilities:
- Let them drive: Ride along as a passenger a few times while they are driving. Pay attention to how they handle themselves and how well they adhere to the rules of the road.
- Assess their vehicle: Another way to evaluate their driving skills is to take a look at their car. If it is full of bumps, scratches and dents, it probably isn’t a good sign. That may indicate the senior is bumping in to things while driving or parking. It may be happening without the older driver even being aware of it.
- Know their medication side effects: Some medications common among older adults are known to put them at risk behind the wheel. This might be because the medicine causes dizziness or drowsiness. It is always a good idea to review the side effects of each medication they take for problems or ask their pharmacist for more information.
- Complete a driving evaluation: AAA Interactive Driving Evaluation is a free online driving assessment for older adults. The 30-minute interactive test evaluates a driver's capabilities in eight important areas ranging from strength and mobility to visual information processing.
Older Driver Laws in Indiana
Finally, it might help you to understand the laws for older drivers in the Hoosier state.
- Drivers between the ages of 75 and 85 must renew their license every 3 years.
- Drivers older than 85 must renew their license every 2 years.
- While drivers under the age of 75 can renew their license online, those ages 75 and older must do so in person.
- A road test may be required if the senior has certain medical conditions or if their license has been expired for more than three years.
For more information regarding older drivers in Indiana, contact the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.