Stopping an Elderly Driver

One listener wants to know whether the kids have a legal obligation to stop a driver with dementia from driving. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Listener Chris R. wrote in to ask about the legal ramifications for knowingly allowing a senior citizen diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to continue to drive.  Well, really, there are three types of liability: criminal, civil, and moral.  

Criminally, unless you’re putting the keys into the hands of an incompetent driver and telling her to go get you some milk, you probably wouldn’t be arrested. It would also be hard for a victim to sue someone for not stopping an incompetent driver, but there could be financial penalties if you’re also the beneficiary, because a lawsuit against the driver would reduce the money left to the driver’s beneficiaries. As for your moral obligation though, that is probably a yes. 

So, if you can’t reason with her, tell her doctor who may be obligated to report individuals with dementia to the DMV and then let authorities take care of it.

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