LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The state’s top insurance executive says more Californians should speak up if they think it’s no longer safe for an elderly family member or friend to drive.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports California Insurance commissioner Dave Jones it’s as important to be both respectful and direct when having “the talk”.

“You have to understand these are adults — by law, they are allowed to make decisions up until a point when they’re no longer capable of doing so,” said Jones.

The number of drivers in California aged 65 and older is expected to double over the next decade, while drivers older than 85 are just above teens involved in the number of fatal crashes.

Not only is there a public safety benefit to monitoring the number of seniors behind the wheel, but a financial one as well: state law entitles drivers 55 years of age and older to a discount on their auto insurance upon proof of completing a senior driver improvement course approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

But just starting the conversation is perhaps the most difficult step towards providing better driving safety for seniors.

“At the end of the day, we do need to be looking out for one another,” said Jones.

For help finding an approved senior driver improvement course in your area, visit the DMV’s website, or call the toll-free consumer line at (800) 777-0133.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Peter Schwab says:

    and Haley Barbour ( Miss Gov) just signd a bill to extend the Drvr Lic to EIGHT years vs 4

  2. bernadette says:


    1. Tina says:

      Bernadette, did you even read the article? The topic is elderly drivers and having “the talk”. Cell phone use is a different topic and is more prominent with teens. Paying attention is a problem with many people — perhaps you’re multitasking?

      1. Don says:

        Tina, it isn’t only teenagers that are on the phone texting while driving. I see so many women and men on the cell phone or texting on the phone, and I even came close to seeing a man cut in half standing behind a semi, not paying attention to the traffic because he was off the road approximately 5 ft.. The woman was about 28 years old, and you could tell she was texting by looking up and down on an intermittent basis while she was going 30 miles an hour on a side street. He didn’t know she was coming, but she had to swerve quickly to the left back onto the street. I can’t imagine how that would have effected me personally or physically, but I think about it often. I have seen many people who drive in the fast lane at 5-15 mile per hour less than the speed limit because they think they are more than capable to be able to drive while holding a cell phone in one hand, but cutting off others because they don’t turn around enough to make sure it is clear and there is room for them to make the change. I could tell many other stories to refute your ” mainly teenagers ” being the problem. This guy seems to be regressing to the hippy days of ” all the people over 30 should be killed off, or not allowed to do anything because they are too old. Only in this case, I guess he is in his 30-40’s and thinks we people at 65 should be made to stay at home for the death panels to kill us off eventually. I am in total disagreement that ” the talk ” should be started at 65, not 75 or 80. He must have a parent who was a hippy during those days. Even at 75, their abilities can still pass any tests on an individually evaluated basis.

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