Speaking with an elderly parent or grandparent about surrendering a driver’s license is a delicate issue but one which most of us face at some point or another. Given the importance of keeping everyone safe I have put together some information which is helpful to families that have to face this issue.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website has excellent links to resources that will be extremely helpful to both you and your family as they outline the best way to deal with elderly and/or medically impaired drivers as family members. Please be advised that should your parent or grandparent surrender his or her license then there would be no need for the reporting form, and the registry will issue a Mass ID free of charge. Should the necessity come up to file a report, you should be explicit about the limitations and, whenever possible, speak to his/her doctor first. If the doctor is in agreement with the family then he/she can submit the form and it will be revoked immediately or the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will schedule a hearing on the matter.
The best way to approach this issue is with the family physician’s assistance. Once the family members express concern to a family physician he/she can then sit down with the parent or grandparent and, as an interested caregiver, intervene on behalf of the family and assist the patient in understanding the necessity of surrendering the license. Also it is important to remember that once a report is filed by a family member and it is contested, a physician needs to sign off that the patient can drive. Therefore it is always helpful to voice your concerns to a physician IF you need the assistance and definitely if you end up filing the revocation request.
If you are an elderly driver in Massachusetts and you are notified by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, you are entitled to a hearing (they will give you a hearing date when they notify you) and you are entitled to be represented by an attorney at this hearing. You do NOT have to have an attorney but is always better to have knowledgeable counsel at this stage to prevent a longer appeal process should they rule against you at the hearing. An appeal to the Registry of Motor Vehicles Appeals Board will cost you money and it often takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks for your hearing to be scheduled. In the meantime you will not be able to drive.
As always if you need any assistance, either as a driver or a concerned family member or caregiver please contact us at (617) 300-0212 and we will be happy to assist you and your family through the process. We sincerely wish you and your family the best in dealing with this situation.