New book helps families determine if an older loved one is fit to drive safely, and if not, what to do about it 

November 1, 2006 

It's no secret that our population is aging.  In fact, it won't be long before one in four drivers will be over the age of 65.  Research suggests we'll outlive our ability to drive by almost ten years-but knowing when to stop or limit driving isn't always clear. 

The Driving Dilemma: The Complete Resource Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families (Collins; November 2006; ISBN: 0061142182) is a comprehensive resource for older drivers and their families facing questions about driving safety.  Author Elizabeth Dugan, PhD, a gerontologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, addresses the staggering and imminent public health problem of elderly drivers, explaining how to tell if an older driver is at risk, the legal responsibilities of older drivers and their families, how to discuss this highly emotional issue, and who can help. 

Dr. Dugan provides clear, useful information about the effects of age, medical conditions, and medications on driving.  She offers practical advice on how to discuss this issue with loved ones.  Such talks can be difficult, and the book provides not only the facts, but also a research-based approach to communication, with useful sample dialogue scripts that will help you discuss driving with your loved ones.  Also included are state-by-state listings of available resources, making this book a total information source for families. 

This book addresses this serious issue as none other has. Its goal: to prevent unsafe drivers from harming themselves and others, while protecting the elderly from unfair and embarrassing limitations. No other book offers definitive guidance for the complex task of evaluating whether your loved one is unsafe behind the wheel. 

In The Driving Dilemma: The Complete Resource Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families, Dugan describes the best approaches to evaluate driving fitness, how to recognize warning signs--including which prescriptions to watch out for--what can reasonably be compensated for, driving-related legal issues, how to develop an action plan, and tools to help families talk about all the issues. 

"Despite the discomfort, it is vitally important to start talking about this challenging issue, even before a problem exists.  It's possible to approach these talks in a way that is non-confrontational and highly supportive, and very often rehabilitation or a modification to the vehicle will extend one's driving fitness," Dugan said.    

For more information about The Driving Dilemma, visit the book's home page at . 

For more information about the Division of Geriatric Medicine at UMass Medical School, visit . 


Michelle Domínguez, Harper Collins,212.207.7321 

Kelly Bishop, UMass  Medical School, 508.856.2000