Senior Drivers: When is it time to take away the keys? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Senior Drivers: When is it time to take away the keys?

Source: KCBD Source: KCBD
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

"Think about what a license is, it’s a privilege, not a right, to have that," said Sergeant John Gonzalez with the Texas Department of Public Safety. But, Sergeant Gonzalez says it’s not a question of when to take someone’s keys, but why.

"We look at the individual basis, whether they’re a 100-year-old or a 15-year-old, because obviously there are 15-year-olds that shouldn’t be driving just like there are 100-year-olds that shouldn’t be driving, and in between," said Gonzalez. 

Instead, they look for signs such as vision impairment, medical conditions, and even medications.

"Their driving record, their driving patterns, and things to that effect, so if we see issues then that’s when we’re going to red flag it."

Just last year, TxDOT in Lubbock started the "CarFit" program – a program designed to help seniors, mainly age 60 and up, adjust their cars to improve their driving.

"So if they’re having any problems seeing out of their blind spots, adjusting their steering wheel, adjusting their seats," said Karen Brown, a Traffic Safety employee with TxDOT.

"We know that’s the last resort, taking away somebody’s ability to drive, so we make all the suggestions that we can before that point."

In Texas, drivers 79 and older must renew their license in person, and are required to take a vision test each time they renew. If TxDOT notices problems, they can offer a restricted license.

"We’ve restricted licenses just to where they can drive around the block," said Sergeant Gonzalez. 

In some situations, a medical advisory board in Austin will review the case to determine when a driver should give up their keys.

"We’re not going to sit here and try to take everyone’s license away, that’s not our goal. We’re going to look at everybody on an individual basis."

TxDOT will start hosting events for their CarFit program this April to help seniors in our area. You can find more information on dates and how to get involved by visiting www.car-fit.org

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