One of the most difficult family decisions is whether to have a parent’s driving privileges revoked. Many different factors raise the issue: multiple accidents, age, dementia, and failing health. When the time comes, please keep in mind what driving means to a person. It boils down to freedom, independence, and control. We all want and need autonomy.
When a senior feels that their driving privileges were wrongfully terminated, their anger and frustration arise from a sense of unfairness in the process used to carry out the result. No one told them that their driving privileges were under scrutiny. They were not told that the upcoming doctor’s visit was about their ability to drive. They were forced to take a driving test without time to prepare for it. They came home one day to find that one of their children had taken their car and sold it behind their backs.
Unfairness in any process is offensive to all of us as Americans. Our very existence as a free people is based on substantive and procedural due process. In the context of taking a person’s car or driving privileges away, the issue is procedural due process.
All of us are entitled to some level of notice, appropriate support, time to prepare, and a chance to be heard regarding events that may result in the denial of a valuable right. Every family’s situation is different. Affording a senior some semblance of due process about the loss of driving privileges is the only way for the process to be just and fair.
Each state has its own rules for seniors to keep their driving licenses. You will find the Delaware rules on the DMV website at: