June 3, 2010
Family Value: When It’s Too Expensive for Dad to Keep Driving
Trying to persuade older family members to give up their car keys isn’t just an emotionally fraught chore. Increasingly, it is a financial issue, too.
Cars can be expensive to maintain for an elderly person on a fixed income. The cost of auto-insurance claims in later life—even for fender benders and accidents without injuries—can quickly add up. Conversely, if an aging parent decides to move to a place where transportation is readily available, such as an assisted-living facility or continuing-care retirement community, housing costs could escalate.
If there is compelling evidence that parents shouldn’t be on the road—because of failing eyesight or other physical limitations—then adult children shouldn't want them to drive. People who are 75 and older have higher crash rates per mile than all groups except 16- to 25-year-olds, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Many states require older drivers, starting in their 60s or 70s, to renew their licenses more frequently than younger drivers, to do so in person or to take additional vision tests. Still, health and driving skill can deteriorate between those renewal dates.