Five things we didn’t know about senior driving interventions

We get it: We’re all terrified to talk with our loved ones about “giving up the keys.” But we’re here with good news. It turns out:

  1. Anyone can request a behind-the-wheel driving test for their loved one…and it can be anonymous. If you really, really, really don’t want to talk to your parent or grandparent about their driving, you can get the DMV to kick off the conversation. In California, this is called a “Request for Driver Reexamination,” and the form you’ll need to complete and mail in is here.

  2. It’s not as black-and-white as license/no license. According to Rosemary Robles, the DMV’s senior driver ombudsman in Northern California, the DMV is invested in helping drivers to keep their licenses for as long as is safe. Therefore, it often chooses to put particular restrictions on licenses instead of taking them away altogether, like barring freeway driving, or mandating that a driver install extended rearview mirrors before they hit the road.

  3. For those who only feel safe driving locally, there’s a license for that, too! The DMV will administer an “Area Driving Performance Evaluation,” and if they pass, the driver’s license will be restricted to their own neighborhood.

  4. A new physical or mental limitation does not mean that someone needs to give up driving. If the driver can compensate for that condition and safely operate their car, they will be OKed to keep their license.

  5. Many driving schools offer courses for “mature drivers,” with a focus on compensating for changing vision and flexibility. The DMV calls them “Mature Driver Improvement Programs,” and here’s a link to those available in California. These are particularly recommended before your loved one goes in to take their driving test.