Loss of freedom to drive detrimental to seniors


New York, NY — A new study finds taking the keys from elderly drivers may keep them physically safe, but it may come at the cost of their mental health. 

The report from AAA and Columbia University found a senior who loses the freedom to drive suffers serious cognitive decay. 

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To take away the keys or not?

A person over the age of 65 whose driving privileges are taken away sees his or her chance of depression nearly double. 

AAA’s Garrett Townsend says they can suffer other issues, as well. 

‘They’re more likely to suffer from depression,’ said Townsend. ‘And nearly five times as likely to enter into long-term facilities as those that remain behind the wheel.’ 

They’re social circle closes in, which can affect their brain and attitude. 

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But at some point, to keep them safe, they need to get out from behind the wheel. 

The study found families who take the keys away from an elderly loved one need to have a game plan to keep his or her brain functioning properly. 


‘[They need] to strategically put something in place so that they can still maintain their mobility and independence once they retire from driving,’ said Townsend. 

The study finds eight out of every ten Americans over the age of 65 are still on the road.

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