Driver's license/ID

CONCERNED FOR A LOVED ONE’S SAFETY WHEN DRIVING?

HOW TO HELP AN AGING LOVED ONE KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO RETIRE FROM DRIVING

Retiring from driving may be one of the most challenging moments in your aging loved one’s life. Is it time to stop driving? How will I know? Ideally, this is a conversation that has been happening over time, but if that’s not the case, don’t panic – we’re here to help you throughout this transition.

When a parent or loved one is no longer able to safely drive, there is a readjustment period and time of grief. Many things have changed that have led up to this moment; and for many, it is a signal of loss. We realize having this conversation with your parent or loved one is sensitive and difficult. Rather than talking only about the negative, focus on your loved one’s transition and actively plan for ways they can maintain as much freedom, control, and choice in their lives as possible.

Talk about why retiring from driving is so important. As aging drivers and vehicle crash fatality rates continue to be some of the highest, discuss how continuing to drive may mean life or death. As we age, it becomes more difficult to recover from physical trauma like car crashes.  Our mental, physical, visual, and reaction times also change. If your loved one is having difficulty with the transition to retire from driving, consider speaking with a professional (start with a family physician or healthcare provider) who can help evaluate not only their driving but also mental and physical abilities.

Below is information to help you identify what phase of transitioning from driving you and your loved one face, and resources to help guide these conversations.

Understand the 5 Stages of the Retiring from Driving Conversations

  1. The Driving Conversations – Ideally, you’ve begun having these conversations before any issues are present. Talk about your vision and concerns for the future and be an advocate of your parent and loved one
  2. The First Signs of Change – Look for changes in driving behavior and utilize self-assessment tools. Continue to provide support and let them know their safety, mobility, and independence is your priority.
  3. The Warning Signs – Learn the signals that are more serious concerns, when to seek advice from a medical professional, referrals to driving rehabilitation specialists, and what adaptive devices for vehicles may benefit your loved one.
  4. When It’s Time to Retire from Driving – Know the critical questions to ask and what methods can help ease the transition. Learn what alternative approaches are available if retiring from driving will not be voluntary.
  5. Preserving Independence after Retiring from Driving – Plan for their future and consider alternative modes of transportation to maintain their highest level of freedom and independence.

What to do if someone you know may no longer be safe to drive

One

Help them voluntarily retire from driving or limit their driving. Resources for having that conversation and helping them make a good decision can be found on our website or on The Hartford.

two If your loved one decides to quit driving, it’s a good idea to have them formally surrender their license. They can do that at any driver’s license service center in Iowa. There’s no penalty or sanction for doing so, and we will issue them an ID card to replace it at no cost

My loved one refuses to quit driving

We know some people, despite your best efforts, won’t be willing to do that. If that happens, you still have options for getting them help.

Your Options — You have three

Option 1 — Submit a request for re-examination

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Anyone can submit a signed and written request for re-examination. You just need to complete and submit in writing, form 431030. When we receive the form, we go through the following steps.
  1. Evaluate the information provided to determine whether re-examination of their privilege to drive is appropriate based on the information provided.
  2. If it is, we will send them a notice for re-examination, and they will be required to go to a service center to complete a re-exam, which may include cognitive screening, a written test, and a drive test with a licensing professional.
  3. We may also request information from a medical professional about their condition and ability to drive as part of the re-examination process.
  4. If the results of the re-examination indicate their driving privileges should be terminated or limited, we will either suspend their license or re-issue it with additional restrictions.
Again, there is no penalty, and if their license is suspended they can get a replacement ID at no cost.

Option 2 — Have a health care professional submit information to us

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If a health care professional that has knowledge of a physical or mental condition that prevents the person from safely driving, they can submit information directly to us.

If they submit information indicating the person’s ability to drive may be impaired and should be re-evaluated, we will take the same course of action we take when any person submits a request for re-examination. However, if the health care professional submits written information indicating that, in their opinion, the person is not fit to drive, we will immediately suspend the person’s driving privilege and issue them an ID at no cost.

If a health care professional is involved in the person’s care, you might explore their willingness to request re-examination or recommend suspension of driving privileges. This can be an important option to consider when the threat of a crash or injury is imminent, and the person is not willing to voluntarily surrender their driving privileges.

Option 3 — Have a law enforcement officer submit a request for re-examination

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Law enforcement officers may submit a request or recommendation for re-examination to us, either through an accident report form or by completing form 431030. If either form is received, we will take the same course of action when any person submits a request for re-examination. If the person has been in a crash, been cited, or warned for a traffic violation, you might explore the officer’s willingness to request or recommend re-examination.

I'm worried they will be mad at me.

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There’s no way around that – they might. We can’t take action on any request unless it is in writing and identifies the person who submits it. We’ll avoid naming you if possible, but it is the person’s legal right to know where the request came from if they ask.

Ask yourself, is it worse to have them be upset with you, or have them injure or kill themselves or another person? You’re in the best position to see that someone needs help and your willingness to speak up can make all the difference.

What if I’m a power of attorney or guardian and conservator for my loved one?
If the person has executed a durable power of attorney that is effective and that designates you as their attorney-in-fact or if you have been appointed by the court as the person’s guardian and conservator, you can surrender their license on their behalf and we will issue them a replacement ID at no cost. You just need to bring the original power of attorney or a certified copy of the court’s order authorizing you to act as their guardian and conservator as proof of your authority to act on their behalf.

Frequently asked questions

arrow   I’M CONCERNED ABOUT A FAMILY MEMBER, NEIGHBOR, OR FRIEND WHO MAY BE UNSAFE TO DRIVE. HOW CAN I LET YOU KNOW OF MY CONCERNS?

If you’re concerned and have tried talking to your family member or friend, you can submit a signed, written request for an evaluation of a driver suspected to have a physical, mental, or visual impairment, regardless of age. Our Driver & Identification Services team reviews all requests and determines the appropriate course of action. This may include medical or visual evaluation to be completed by a healthcare professional or required testing. Form 431030 can be submitted to request a re-examination for a friend or loved one. The minimum required information (healthcare professionals or law enforcement may submit additional information) you’ll need to include on the request is:

  • Individual’s full name, address, driver’s license number, and date of birth
  • Reason for the re-examination must be given. Include a summary (age alone not considered)
  • Your signature, name, address, and date of submission

For concerned family members, you can also speak directly with their healthcare provider or contact law enforcement with your concerns.

arrow  WHO CAN REQUEST OR REPORT CONCERN FOR AN UNSAFE DRIVER?

Anyone, including yourself, a healthcare professional, or even law enforcement, can request a re-examination if concerned about someone else’s ability to drive safely due to a physical, cognitive, or vision-related condition. To request a re-examination you’ll need to submit a signed, written request for evaluation (Form 431030) and submit to us for review. The minimum required information (healthcare professionals or law enforcement may submit additional information) you’ll need to include on the request is:

  • Individual’s full name, address, driver’s license number, and date of birth
  • Reason for the re-examination must be given. Include a summary (age alone not considered)
  • Your signature, name, address, and date of submission

arrow  IF I REPORT SOMEONE AS UNSAFE TO DRIVE, WILL THEY KNOW?

If you submit a request for re-examination, the person named in the request is entitled and can request to know the name and address of the individual who signed and submitted the request for re-examination.

arrow  CAN I REPORT AN UNSAFE DRIVER BY PHONE?

We cannot accept reports of unsafe drivers by phone. We must receive a signed, written request for re-examination (Form 431030) In the event of an emergency, immediate reporting may be completed by contacting your local law enforcement or dialing 911.

arrow  CAN A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL REQUEST A DRIVING ASSESSMENT OR EVALUATION FOR PHYSICAL, COGNITIVE, OR VISION-RELATED REASONS?

Yes. A healthcare professional can request a driving assessment or evaluation if they are concerned with someone’s ability to drive safely due to a physical, cognitive, or vision-related reason. Contact us by phone 515-244-8725 or email Driver.Services@iowadot.us if you have questions.