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Published November 05, 2009, 05:47 PM

When Should Older People Stop Driving?

At what age should a person hang up his or her keys for good?

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

At what age should a person hang up his or her keys for good?

Although the answer might be different for everyone, it can be hard to talk to an older loved one about giving up the freedom of driving for good.

People in Devils Lake came together tonight to learn how to have that conversation. The program, developed by AARP, was facilitated by Chris Laite of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

There is no set age or test that determines a person unfit to drive in North Dakota. This means it can be difficult to tell if an older person should stop driving. It can also be hard for older people to give up the freedom of driving, since they may give up some of their independence. Pride may also make an older person unwilling to give up driving.

Tonight people were encouraged to see the situation from the driver's point of view.

Richard Johnson: "My father's 94 years old and he's driven since he was 14. As he's said, he taught his mother to drive. He's never had a speeding ticket. He's never had a ticket.">

Rose Leier: "[Relatives are] almost missing stop signs and not seeing lights and not putting blinkers on."

Some major warning signs that a person may no longer be safe on the road are confusing the brake pedal with the gas, missing red lights or stop signs, and getting lost in familiar areas.

People are encouraged to look for warning signs that happen frequently over time. One-time mistakes may not mean a person should stop driving.

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