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Most Americans consider driving to be essential to their independence and quality of life. Driving is one of the most complex tasks that we perform on a daily basis. Dignity Health promotes lifelong community mobility and the desire for individuals to lead independent purposeful and productive lives.
Your Dignity Health providers are committed to offering practical guidance to accommodate the needs and functional limitations of roadway users to keep our communities safe, active and thriving. An educated community is an empowered community. We watch out for each other because that is what is at the heart of humankindness.
There has been tremendous growth in the older adult population in the United States and this trend is expected to continue. By 2030, one out of every five Americans will be over the age of 65, resulting in an older adult population of more than 70 million people. Older adults are some of the safest drivers, but they are subject to increased scrutiny. Research has proven that it is not age that leads to problems with driving, rather it is a decline in driving related abilities accompanying aging or arising from medical conditions or medications that make driving more dangerous.
Conditions that put drivers at risk are not the sole province of seniors. Patients of chronic conditions such as stroke, head injury, dementia or seizure are at risk, as are those with temporary medical conditions such as knee/hip replacements, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and some cancers.
At Dignity Health the physician is held accountable for knowledge of medical conditions that may affect driving safety. Your Dignity Health doctor may ask about your driving fitness, and may also recommend at times, that you not drive until you have medical clearance. Your physician may also recommend further testing from an occupational therapist.
The American Medical Association has designated the Occupational Therapist to address driving fitness and safety needs.
The Occupational Therapist works closely with the physician and health care team to address driving as a routine part of our daily living skills. The goal of occupational therapy is to promote independence and safety at all stages of our lives, including driving. A physician must write a prescription order for one to see the Occupational Therapist whose practices include:
Just as we plan for housing and financing, we need to consider transportation options to ensure continued access to our community. Community mobility includes:
We encourage members of the community to practice using alternative forms of transportation to prepare for the time when one may not be able to drive. Seniors are encouraged to try using alternative transit options while they still feel healthy. A support person can accompany or follow behind. Once a person becomes familiar with the process, fears diminish significantly.
If you are concerned but do not want to confront someone about their driving ability, you may make a confidential report to the DMV. You may call 800.777.0133 or go to dmv.ca.gov to obtain the Request for Driver Reexamination (form DS 699).
Learn how health can affect your driving ability with the Driver Safety Brochure.