News Release

December 16, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

How Old Is Too Old to Drive?

Tough but Important Call, Says UConn Health Center Geriatrician

FARMINGTON, CONN. – How does aging affect ability to drive? What are the signs that it’s no longer safe to get behind the wheel? What if an elderly parent or sibling who no longer should be driving refuses to stop?

“People are living longer and therefore driving longer,” says Dr. Patrick P. Coll of the UConn Center on Aging at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “In some cases this can be a dangerous situation, not only for the older driver, but also for others on the road. This can lead to some difficult but necessary decisions regarding the curtailing or discontinuation of driving.”

Older drivers are more likely than younger drivers to have medical conditions that may compromise their ability to drive safely, such as deteriorating vision, hearing, muscle strength, flexibility, memory and ability to focus or concentrate. Certain medications, either in combination or individually, also can affect driving ability.

“The decision to stop or limit driving is an important one that should be made in consultation with the individual’s physician and, when available, family members,” Coll says.

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