DUI of Dementia

Posted on Updated on

Fatal crash restarts conversation on aging drivers | Local News | The Seattle Times.

When is it okay to drive while impaired?

NEVER.

And yet many drivers that are cognitively impaired are doing just that.  Justin Runquist’s Seattle Times article, attached above, addresses the wave of aging drivers that has swept onto our roads.  I’ll be the first to admit that dementia isn’t always the impairment associated with aging drivers.  Sometimes medication side effects and/or slower response times – even without Alzheimer’s or dementia – can be the cause of accidents that can harm the driver, and anyone in his or her path.

In this article, however, I address the type of DUI that does involve dementia.  As I mentioned in my two part series: Driving under the influence of dementia and Part 2 of that article, there are far too many news reports covering the risks of impaired driving – many of which end in disaster.

My dad (circa 1980's) gave up his car keys shortly before being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
My dad (circa 1980’s) gave up his car keys shortly before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

How can we possibly take comfort in denying that either ourselves or our loved ones should no longer get behind the wheel?  This type of denial is dangerous but it is possible to get around the difficulties associated with this subject without alienating yourself or others.

In my article: Driving with dementia: the dangers of denial I offer a few suggestions on how to take the keys away – or give up ones own keys – before someone else gets hurt.

For those of you who are still driving and who have considered even once that you shouldn’t be doing so – please read all the articles attached within this blog entry and then decide if you still feel comfortable driving a weapon that might kill you, or someone in your path.  And for you adult children who have felt the same uncomfortableness surrounding your own parents’ driving skills – take heed and act before it’s too late.

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2 thoughts on “DUI of Dementia

    Kathy said:
    March 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    My grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. My grandfather, her husband, ended up in the hospital. She drove home from visiting him and never arrived home. This was many years ago, before Silver Alerts. It was before we realized she was deeply affected by Alzheimer’s. I don’t remember much, just that my parents were frantic trying to find her. She called them a day or two after she left the hospital. She had checked into a motel, but had no idea how she had gotten there or where she was. It was like she was fine one day, then not. Flip of a switch. Thanks for sharing this important information.

      boomer98053 responded:
      March 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      That must have been a frightening experience for everyone concerned. Thanks so much for providing your own personal experience relating to this extremely important issue.
      Bless you, Kathy.

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