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While the accident rate goes up slowly between 65 and 75, after that it rises sharply. It becomes comparable to that of people 16-24.

How can we help ourselves be better drivers even as our reaction time slows? There are two courses available online. For $19.95 you can take an AARP online course which may also yield a discount on your car insurance. www.aarp.org/families/driver-safety. A workbook and a self-assessment are available at www.keepingussafe.org. The American Occupational Therapists’ Association (in cooperation with AARP, AAA and the American Society on Aging) has created YouTube videos. www.aota.org.

We might want to start before 75 or whenever we get a new car, developing good habits. In Texas, we must retest every two years beginning at 79. Anyone who is concerned can call the Department of Public Safety and ask for someone to be retested without waiting for the license to expire. (512) 424-4000.

But how do we really know when it is safe to drive – or becoming unsafe? An assessment called Useful Field of Vision is able to predict at-fault accidents. www.visualawareness.com

If your spouse is even in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and you do not prevent them from driving, you may find yourself liable for negligence contributing to someone’s injury or death. What can you do if they will not give up the keys? In addition to calling DPS in an attempt to cancel their driver’s license, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests filing down the keys, disabling or removing the car, placing an “expired” sticker on the driver’s license, cancelling the vehicle registration, and asking the doctor to write a prescription not to drive.

 

Terry Garrett is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.

Need a Speaker? Terry Garrett is happy to speak to groups throughout Central Texas.

*rated by Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell and Justia.

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