My 89 year old mother-in-law, Bonnie, has progressing dementia. She was recently in the hospital for recurring dizzy spells. The internist who treated Bonnie told my husband and me (my husband, Jeff, is her son and has DPOA) that Bonnie should not be driving, not because of the dizzy spells but because of the dementia. Our family has been concerned about Bonnie's ability to drive for a while and have mentioned to her that she should stop driving-BUT- as you can guess--this suggestion did not go over very well. I suggested to the internist that he order her not to drive because of the recurring dizzy spells that she has been having. The internist thought her recurring dizzy spells might hamper her ability to drive and did order a driving restriction until she has been cleared by her cardiologist. We felt that the 'dizziness' would be a good reason to keep her off the road. Bonnie would never agree that she has dementia and that dementia would be a reason for her to stop driving. Needless to say, Bonnie is totally enraged at the idea that she has to give up the keys. She insists that she can and will drive. Yikes! You may have had to deal with this problem yourself! My questions are: 1) Does an MD have the legal right to state that someone should not drive? 2) What right(s) does my husband have - can he pull the keys and car away from her? 3)Is 'dementia' a diagnosis that can curtail or end a person's driving career? We live in Washington State. 4) If she does continue to drive, would my husband be liable as her DPOA for any damage that she does? 5) Should we increase her vehicle liability insurance to 2-3 million to cover any accidents? And-if the insurance company found out that her doctor and her family had concerns about her driving, would the insurance company have to pay? 6) How in the heck can we get those darn keys??? Bonnie is absolutely furious about having her driving abilities questioned and having a reasonable discussion with her about this is not possible. I would appreciate any advice you have about how to get Bonnie off the road. I would be absolutely heartsick if she had a car accident that either injured or killed herself or someone else. Thank you very much, Wendy XXXXX
2. that is more of a tricky legal question, but probably so
4. another legal question, not medical, probably anyone who knows and does not report this might be in trouble.
5. She should stop driving, the doctor says.
Have the doctor send a report the the bureau of motor vehicles right now.
That will solve the problems.
I had selected 'lawyer' to answer my question. I am sure that you read my question. Do you feel you can help me with the legal issues?
no just the medical questions
I don't know why it is in medical
I will have it transferred, hang on.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).