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Too Old To Drive? When It’s Time To Surrender The Keys

June 23, 2009

SACHA PFEIFFER. 90.9 WBUR

BOSTON — Genevieve Priest is 89-years-old and still has her driver’s license, but says she has mostly given up driving. She travels with a tank of oxygen connected to a tube in her nose, and she does not feel as strong as she used to.

“Well, I have a breathing problem, I don’t have the energy I had before, and my eyes are not as good as they used to be,” Priest says. “I would drive today if I had to, but I prefer not to.”

She still comes, though, to this weekly quilting group at the Belmont Senior Center. She usually gets dropped off by her husband, who is still driving at age 91.

“He’s been a tremendous good driver,” Priest says, “but lately we’re getting a little nervous about him driving because he doesn’t seem to have the confidence.”

A handful of recent high-profile car accidents involving elderly drivers has state lawmakers considering legislation that would require extra testing for older drivers. Supporters of the proposed new laws say people over a certain age are unsafe behind the wheel.

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