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Would you shop 'em? - Sue
Arising from the thread on motorway driving, middle lane hoggers etc.

If you suspect a loved one is unfit to keep driving, what do you do about it?

My mother complained that my late uncle was clearly unfit to drive - let the pedants understand that this is before he died! - a combination of failing sight, heart problems, taking a cocktail of tablets and altogether not at all alert. He should probably have reported his medical problems to the DVLA but had not done so. Although it would probably have been picked up at renewal of licence time (over 70) he was not always 100% honest when filling in forms, when he bothered to fill them in at all.

She was concerned that if she reported his failing health to the DVLA and he lost his licence he would know that she had done this, and he would be upset. I said she should worry less about this than about how upset she would be if my uncle had an accident which resulted in death or serious injury for someone other than him. I'm pleased to say she reported him, his licence was revoked and he never managed to have his driving re-assessed to get it back again.

And while we're talking about unsafe drivers, my aunt (this uncle's wife) had learned to drive before mandatory tests, so had a licence without ever taking a driving test. She had not driven for years, but insisted on keeping her licence up to date and being kept on his insurance, so that if ever he was taken ill she could drive herself home (I think the intention was to leave him behind - they were never what you'd call a 'close' couple!). Fortunately this never happened, and she died before he did. The thought of this lady taking over at the wheel of a large and powerful car after not having driven for 20+ years was a truly terrifying thought!
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Tom Shaw
Your mother was public spirited and courageous, Sue. Would I do the same for a relative?
Shamefully, I suspect not.
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Tomo
I never passed a formal test either, but never having hurt anybody is a good practical result.
Without being able to drive, to be honest, I will not really want to go on. It's not just me, a recent bit of research found that to some of us not driving is at least as bad as a bereavement.
Re: Would you shop 'em? - steve paterson
Back in the 70's I started work at a Daf variomatic dealership. The Daf's were popular with disabled folk of all ages for as well as being automatic they had big, wide opening doors. Initially my feelings about many of the disabled customers was that they shouldn't be driving. We had to do all sorts of mods to suit various disabilities. Resiting switches for one handed use, fitting little levers to ign keys to allow weaker users to turn the engine on, extending gear selector levers and pedals, altering handbake linkage for extra leverage and so on. (We fitted left foot throttles to quite a few, lethal unless you're used to them, and I could never manouvre a car in the workshop using my left foot).
After a while it dawned on me that in spite of their difficulties most disabled folk managed really well (sometimes a bit clumsily) in their beloved Dafs, and that their car was literally indespensible. More important to them than the newest Roller to it's owner. To this day I make allowances for 'Disabled Driver' cars
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Tomo
Where does this stop? We all think somebody is not fit to drive - and the thought may be reciprocated!
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Sue
In this instance I'm talking 'medically' unfit to drive...
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Andy Bairsto

My mother has just handed here licence back after many years of safe driving,I am glad she saw sense and was not invoved in any bad accident .I really think that unless there are exceptionall cicumstances your licence should be void after 80 .I personnaly will be glad to stop driving and be chaufered
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Andrew Smith
My father is now in his late 70's. He too has never passed a driving test but still drives on a daily basis and regularly drives from London up to Leeds and back in a day. His driving is in my opinion better than my own and he is possibly the only person I would let borrow my car without worriing about it.

Personnaly I hope to carry on driving for as long as is physically possible and would probably bend quite a lot of rules to keep my licence when I am older. (I know this isn't PC but I'm being honest).
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Brian
Maybe ALL licences should be for a limited period and only renewed on the basis of a medical certificate and retest.
Pretty drastic, but is it really right that you can pass a test at 18 and drive for 50 years with deteriorating reactions, eyesight, mobility, etc.
Look at the explosion of disabled parking places. In some areas an able-bodied driver is almost unable to park. I have nothing against disabled drivers BUT, how do you justify going to the doctor and saying you are too sick to walk more than a few yards, yet effectively tell the DVLA that you are fit to drive.
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Starman
Disabled does not mean immobile. Cancer patients and others with debilitating diseases get the orange badges. Try and see it from their point of view.

Re: Would you shop 'em? - Miller
I think you should have to stop driving at 70 no matter how good you still consider your health or driving ability to be. I drive for a living and old people simply cannot cope with the volume of traffic and general impatience of other road users today. (They are still better drivers than anyone who drives while wearing a baseball cap however!)
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Andrew Hamilton
My mother is 89 years old and still a safe driver. I notice elderly people make use of their experience which tends to compensate for slower reactions. They tend to avoid situations such as night driving which are tiring. To say anyone over 70 should stop driving is a bit unreasonable. You might as well say they should never leave their houses in case they are a hazard to other pedestrians!
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Randolph Lee
How does being able to walk equate to driving skill? one of the best drivers I know has no legs... he drives a huge RV over 30,000 miles a year all over North Amercia for his hobby of sporting clays shooting (he shoots from a wheel chair and is rated AA and does _very_ well shooting with 'normal' folks) He has never been in an at fault crash since he lost his legs in 'Nam...

As to "no one over 70 should be allowed to drive" Humm I wonder how you will feel about that when you are 70... i know many safe drivers in their 80s... just because they no longer exceed the speed limit does not make them unsafe

Re: Would you shop 'em? - Brian
I have seen it from my daughter's point of view.
She had a damaged knee and an orange badge. She COULD have driven, but felt that she would not be able to get enough pressure on the brake quickly enough in an emergency. She therefore did not drive for nearly 3 years and we took her wherever she needed to go.
I have no problem with disabled drivers in properly adapted cars which enables them to drive to the same standard as an able-bodied driver.
What I DO have a problem with is someone whose car looks exactly the same from the outside but, like my daughter, would be unable to react effectively if, for example, a child ran out in front of them.
We check everybody's eyesight and emergency stopping ability in the driving test. Anyone who cannot meet that standard does not get a licence. Only in exceptional circumstances do we re-check that ability over the next five decades.
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Independent Observer
I read somewhere that when they introduced licencing for motor racing, and refused them for disabled drivers, one driver with a deformed arm was particularly put out. He was the world champion at the time apparently.
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Lee H
The fellow you refer to was at the time running a post office in Gateshead, and as I recall was fairly successful as a rally driver. His name escapes me, although I think he drove a Sierra cosworth...Maybe LAC remembers him?
Re: Would you shop 'em? - Lee H
I am reliably informed his name was Ken Ridley.
What chance of a re-test? - Ian (cape town)
Do the authorities have the right to demand you take a re-test?
In this part of the world, it is a common occurence, especially after many of our licensing authorities were caught 'selling' licenses.
Applicants go to tiny out-of-the-way towns, where they get into a vehicle for about 3 minutes, drive forward, backwards, stop, then get a license!
As the Govt catch the dodgy traffic departments, they demand that all those whose licenses were issued there have to be retested.
In another scnario, if a driver has too many accidents, speeding fines etc, the authorities can demand a retest. (we don't have a points system here - get caught, pay up, carry on driving!)
Re: What chance of a re-test? - Independent Observer
Surely a retest (following retraining) is more sensible than a ban.

The punishment might have a deterrent effect, but is there any sense in "punishing" a bad driver by stopping him practicing for three years?
Re: What chance of a re-test? - Sue
I don't know about re-test following bans for drink-driving, DWDC etc, but I know my uncle - still before he died - found out what he would have to do to get his licence back. He lived in SE London, and the test centre was in Reigate (in Surrey, SW of London for the geographically challenged). I think he had to be at the test centre by 10 am and would then have to do a driving test in a strange car before they would give him back his licence.

I don't know how the test compares to the initial driving test. The simple logistics of getting to that part of the country by public transport that early in the day in his poor state of health defeated him. Much to my mother's relief!

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