Drinking alcohol is not limited to younger people. Many elders like to drink too.
Blood alcohol levels tend to be higher for a longer period of time in older drinkers due to a slower metabolism. They may drink the same amount as they always have but get intoxicated faster and stay that way longer. Some have been heavy drinkers most of their lives and continue to drink the same amount into their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.
Heavy drinking by older drivers can be exceptionally dangerous, and they might not be aware of how intoxicated they are. They could have a drink or two before driving and be quite drunk. It’s a good idea that elderly drivers don’t drink at all before getting behind the wheel. (This is actually good advice for everyone).
Many elders are prescribed multiple medications. Some of these drugs have side effects that can slow down reaction time and make the user drowsy. Many medications should not be used when driving. Some medications are labeled to warn the user to use caution when driving and taking the medication. If more than one medication with these concerning side effects is taken together, driving a vehicle can be particularly hazardous. Some medications that elders take are prescribed by different physicians. Their doctors may focus on drug interactions between the different prescribed medications but might not consider the impact on driving.
It can be helpful for one to speak to their physician or prescriber about concerns of these type of side effects. There are often alternative medicines that can be prescribed.
Keeping Their License
Older drivers sometimes fear that there is someone that wants to take away their driver’s license. When an older person does have their license suspended or surrendered, it’s not because of age, but due to an inability to drive safely. These instances are usually due to a medical condition or medication to treat a medical condition.
When any driver has concerns about their health or their medications as they relate to driving, it’s a good idea to speak to their physician. Many medical conditions can be treated, and the driver will not have to give up their license. Others may have conditions that could put them at risk of serious injury if they continue driving. Usually, a driver who understands the risks, will not want to continue driving. Sometimes, healthcare providers and/or family members need to intervene to help the driver make the changes needed.
Contact our experienced firm for assistance for legal issues around driving. We are here to help.