Life After The License

By Julie Montanaro
November 7, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A new survey shows senior drivers don't want to discuss giving up their car keys.

The Florida State University study is encouraging doctors to start talking - and seniors to start planning - for life without a license.

"I've heard people say, you seniors, you seniors, you should only drive between 11 in the morning and two in the afternoon then get off the road," Patty Parkhurst said with a laugh.

Patty Parkhurst is 82 years old. She's been driving longer than many of us have been alive.

"Who's going with me?"

A new study done by professors at Florida State shows that not only do families struggle to talk with seniors about "giving up the keys," but very few doctors ever broach the subject either.

"They haven't asked me do you have tickets? Do you have accidents? As long as I get there I guess they're happy," Parkhurst said.

The Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy just completed a survey of drivers age 50 and up.

It found that only 5% of them had ever talked to a doctor about their ability to drive, only 13% say they've planned for the day they can no longer drive and perhaps most suprising of all, 71% said they were not interested in getting information about it from their doctor or anyone else.

The institute director says it is time for that to change.

"We don't want it to be after the third wreck like after my mom, she totalled her car. That's when she stopped driving. They need a plan in place ahead of time," said John Reynolds, director of FSU's Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy.

Decades old driver Julie Pestella jokes about taing 20 minutes to park a car, but talking seriously about that is different.

"A lot of folks don't want to talk about it because we don't want to lose our freedom," Pestella said.

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