Elderly Drivers: Taking the Keys?

We look at the issue of aging drivers — and when it’s time to quit. Read what the NTSB chair had to say during the show.

Harriet Butler, 99, left, and her daughter Marcia Savarese, 73, at their home in Vienna, Va., Nov. 8, 2010. The National Transportation Safety Board held a recent forum to understand the safety risks that older drivers face. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Americans are getting older, which means American drivers are getting older. The number of seniors on the road will double in the next 20 years to 1-in-5, maybe 1-in-4, or more, depending where you live. 

Many 65-plus drivers are excellent – experienced, careful, keen. Others are not. 

The headlines of elderly drivers plowing through Wal-Mart windows, mowing down innocents, are unnerving. So is the job of asking older relatives if it’s time to stop. 

But giving up the keys can look like a prison sentence in this country. We look at how to handle America’s aging drivers.

-Tom Ashbrook


Deborah Hersman, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. She convened the NTSB’s forum on safety, mobility and aging drivers last week. Read a transcript of her interview with On Point.

Sandra Rosenbloom, professor of planning and gerontology at the University of Arizona. She’s an expert on the societal impacts of aging populations and their travel needs. She was a panelist at the NTSB forum last week on aging drivers.

Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, which researches how the convergence of baby boomer expectations and technology will drive change in public policy and business. He was a panelist at the NTSB forum last week on aging drivers.

State Senator Brian Joyce (D-MA). He’s been pushing for greater testing for elderly drivers.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 25, 2015
Three of baker Renee McLeoud's delicious pies, on display in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »