There are times that medical recalls are related to older drivers. This can result from the skills required for driving slowly disappearing. If you have recieved a notice from PennDOT that a license is being revoked or recalled because of a medical issue we may be able to help.
The following is taken directly from the PennDOT guide “Talking With Older Drivers.”
There are a number of common physical changes that may occur with age and may affect driving. As we age, our reflexes often slow down. Our eyes, ears and brain may not react to or anticipate events like before. This happens to everyone in varying degrees, and we all have to make adjustments. Here are some of the changes you may want to discuss with an older family member or friend:
Good vision is essential to safe driving. Experts believe 90 percent of the information we need to drive comes through our eyes. But over time nearly everyone’s vision declines. An older person may notice difficulties focusing on objects and switching focus from near to far or far to near. The ability to see fine detail may diminish. Peripheral vision, the ability to see things to the side without turning one’s head, may also change with age. This is significant, since about
98 percent of what we see when we drive is seen first peripherally. Driving at night may become more difficult because the older driver can’t see as clearly. This is common. When we get older, we need more light to see as clearly as before. An older driver may also find it harder to adjust to glare from approaching headlights and may notice a weakening in depth perception (i.e., the ability to judge distances). Vision problems should be checked by an eye care professional. Some of the risks can be decreased by simply changing a few driving habits, like limiting night driving.
Some hearing loss is common among people age 65 and older. High-pitched sounds may become less audible long before low-pitched ones do. This is important because horns, sirens and train whistles are high pitched. Studies show people who have hearing difficulties are more likely to be inattentive to their surroundings. Family or friends who suspect an older person doesn’t hear well should recommend a hearing exam and offer to go with the older person to get one.
One of the crucial functions of safe driving is “reaction time”—the time it takes for the eyes to see and the brain to process what is seen and tell the body how to react. “Reaction time” slows with age, but an older driver can compensate by keeping a good distance from the car ahead and avoiding rush-hour traffic. Processing new information and making quick judgments are essential skills in driving, but they can become impaired, as in the early stages of dementia. Family and friends should be aware that these changes may occur, and help the older driver recognize the changes and make alternative transportation choices.
Arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, nervous disorders—all can affect driving, so it’s important to have regular medical checkups. Even with a medical problem, older drivers may still be able to drive safely, as long as they follow doctors’ instructions. More serious medical problems might restrict the ability to drive safely. Medications can affect driving ability at any age, but especially for an older person. Even over-the-counter medicines can have adverse and unplanned side effects. Anyone taking a prescription or over-the-counter medicines should ask a doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of medication, especially as they relate to driving. Of course, anyone taking medication should avoid alcoholic beverages and should follow directions that advise against driving when taking certain medications.
As these abilities degrade it also makes the Pennsylvania driver more likely to have violations of the vehicle code. This can result in suspension of a Pennsylvania license to further hinder the ability to drive. Contact License Restoration Services Inc. for more information and to discuss your specific situation.