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Unfit drivers

Good people get harmed when bad drivers are left to drive.

It is sad that so many elderly are left on the roads to drive when they should not be. Believe me, I have had first hand experience with this issue.

My father a few years back lived up here in Warminster, he drove everywhere. He had several strokes, and I witnessed some very bad actions. Long story short, about 15 years prior, at his first stroke, he was advised to not drive ever again. Since no one had power of attorney, there was nothing we could do.

Fast-forward many years and again, after more strokes, his doctor had told my sister (who now was his voice since he could not speak due to the strokes ) to make him  stop driving. Well now being older I thought about it, spoke to the family and explained how this was not just a hazard to him but to those innocent people on the road.

She did not care, as she put it, "Well if we take it away then he will not be able to go anywhere." Sorry but that's not a good enough answer. I spent several months speaking to him about it, letting him know I would run him everywhere, I would pick him up every night and cook him dinner, I did everything.

Then, the idea occurred to me, contact the doctor, he wouldn't be breaking any laws to listen to what I had to say. So I did, I contacted the doctor and requested he generate the paperwork to be sent to the state. Then the rest is history. My father now is not allowed to drive!

So to all those daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and so on, if you have a family member who is old and should not be driving, put a stop to it. Don't allow innocent people to be harmed because of something you could have prevented, don't sit back and ignore the issue. Step up and save someone's life, don't allow another family to suffer because of someone who is too old to drive.

OK, now there is a separate issue. There are a lot of younger people who should not be driving, you know who you are. Yep, the ones who drive real fast down the back roads (ummm children are playing), the ones that blow through stop signs, the ones who have their radio up so loud that if an ambulance was coming  they would never hear it.

Yes, I could name several people young, middle and old who should not be behind a wheel. These individuals need to lose their license before it's too late. So I say people, step up, stop waiting for someone else to do something. If you see you have a problem within your family do something. If it's someone you know, then speak to their family,don't be afraid to help even though they get angry, remember you are trying to save their lives

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mary Alice Brancato October 08, 2012 at 09:54 AM
You are right. There are elderly drivers on the road that should no longer be driving. It is a hard decision to make but one that often has to be made by the person's children. My own father suffered a massive stroke and lost his ability to speak many years ago. He was confused about certain things but did not lose his ability to want to go places like he'd always done. My mother told him he could no longer drive. Every day he took a walk. One day when he didn't come back from his walk she noticed his car missing. We all got a call. I lived in the neighborhood he used to live in before he got sick so I took a ride. There he was at his barber getting his hair cut. He drove the whole way when he shouldn't have because none of us could understand what he wanted. I waited patiently and then spoke to him. I told him he couldn't drive anymore. He cried and my heart broke. So I did the only thing I could do so that he would see...I asked him what he would do if someone in his condition hit me and my kids. That hit home....he handed me the keys and never drove again! Again I was faced with this issue years later. My father had passed away and my mother was living with me. My mother had the beginning of dementia even though at that time we just thought sometimes she was confused a little. I saw her drive on Delmont Ave after going to the store. We had that talk immediately after. She never drove again. It is very hard to take away our parents independence.
Mary Alice Brancato October 08, 2012 at 10:02 AM
To them their keys are their freedom and their right. We have to understand that we as their children need to be committed to making sure they still have the ability to go where they want when they want. We have the responsibility to speak to them and explain so that it hits home and they understand the severity of the situation. It's a very hard conversation to have but we owe them that! We owe the other drivers on the road that. Often our elderly live alone. Their families don't see how their loved ones really drive. So be kind ....if you see an elderly person driving and it's clear they shouldn't be ...contact their family and let them know. None of us wants to admit when our skills in anything start to slacken. It's up to someone we love to remind us that it's okay to say we need help:) As for people speeding on our streets. If you see someone speeding down a residential street speak up! Often they just need a reminder to slow down. I've found that when I see teen drivers speeding on our street that if I speak to them about it when I see them they are often mortified and apologize. Sometimes our young adults and even our elderly just need us to speak from our hearts.
Stephen Bliss October 08, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I used to take the train to work. Frequently I drove behind an elderly gentleman on his way to the train. He drove slow and frequently he appeared to be heading to the side of the road. I emailed the police with his license number. They said that unless they witness the behaviour they can not do anything. I understand that but I did not know what to do. This man appeared to be an accident waiting to happen. One day there was an opportunity for me to speak to the man. I came up beside him when there was no one else near him. I told him about his driving. How he drives slow and at times appears to be going to the side of the road. He said "I did not realize it was so bad." Our conversation probably lasted less than two minutes. We got on the train and I never saw him again. I have no idea what happened to him. I only know I never saw him driving to the train station. It took a lot for me to criticize the driving of a complete stranger but it had to be done. I hope we all have the courage to do it when it needs to be done.
Tony Simek October 08, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The sad news is that just because someone is not allowed to drive, doesn't mean that they won't drive. There are too many people on local roads without licenses who drive because they can. While the article above is one way to mitigate the safety of a loved one and avoid a guilty conscience regarding innocent victims, what we really need is routine policing of the requirements for a drivers license. Random stops once or twice a year for the purpose of checking for a valid driver's license will I am certain result in surprising findings for the Township and the County.
Lavender Green October 08, 2012 at 07:36 PM
tony you are totally right! Its not just the elderly, there are alot of people who drive who should, whether they have a license or not. Its a tough situation and yes the cops cant be everywhere all the time.
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