How do I deal with the DVLA/Police regarding my Dad?

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by GailM, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. GailM

    GailM Registered User

    Jan 1, 2017
    I'm sure my Dad has Dementia, but he will not go to the Doctors. Not only that, he is struggling to see in the dark whilst driving due to headlights. He doesn't want to drive any more but feels obliged to take my Cousin to and from work (rush hour) five days a week. My Dad lives with his brother and sister in law and his nephew. He is due to receive a DVLA form next week as it's coming up to his 76th birthday. My Uncle is in the car with him 99.9% of the time and is issuing instructions. He's forgetting routes, going in the wrong lanes and has recently clipped the curb twice in the same week and had to have two new tyres. It seems the rest of my family are selfish to say the least and are actively encouraging him to drive to suit their own ends! I can report him to the DVLA. I also found out today that I can go to my GP and let him contact my Dad's GP. I can also contact the Police on 101. It's a truly awful position to be in, but I am thinking of my Dad's safety and also other road users etc. I am now being pressured by a friend (who has known my Dad most of their lives) to report and report tomorrow. I have a Doctor's appointment on Tuesday on an unrelated matter. Do I hang fire and hope the DVLA form is filled in correctly. I can't sleep, and I'm so upset, and also SO angry that the rest of the family is willing to let my Dad continue in this way. I've told him he can get medication to help with his memory but he won't go. He won't go to the Opticians. The family will know it's me who has reported it as it couldn't be anyone else. My Dad says it will cause bad feeling if he stops taking my Cousin to work and he has to live with them. He gave this reason before he became ill as well...
  2. Penmon79

    Penmon79 Registered User

    Oct 24, 2016
    North Wales
    This is such a tricky one and an awful position for you to be in.
    However, if you don't report your concerns to the DVLA and there's an accident of a really serious nature think how much worse you are going to feel, let alone any victims and their families. You can contact the DVLA anonymously and they will probably require your father to see a doctor for an assessment of his fitness to drive.
    I'm sorry if that sounds too brutal but it really seems to be the case doesn't it?
    I hope you find peace over this. Your family may suspect it was you but neighbours etc could easily have done so too.
  3. GailM

    GailM Registered User

    Jan 1, 2017
    Thank you for your reply. You don't sound brutal at all, and the longer I leave it the more chance there is of something happening ( and I would never forgive myself). His neighbours won't be able to see what's happening regarding his driving. Anyone watching him driving would maybe see him in the wrong lane, but usually my Uncle will tell him which lane to go in. He's lost the ability to reverse though (as seen by the longstanding friend recently). It took six goes by all accounts, and he was always a good driver. I just wish my Cousin would take it upon himself to get himself to work and then I wouldn't be in this position. I spoke to him last week about it and he said he didn't feel safe in the car any more. I warned him I would report my Dad to the DVLA if I found that he was still driving by his birthday, but that's not till April, and anything could happen between now and then, plus he could get worse.
  4. chris53

    chris53 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2009
    #4 chris53, Jan 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
    Good evening Gail,a warm welcome to Talking Point, so sorry you are in a very worrying situation and having sleepless nights, the thought and fears of maybe a serious accident happening may be sooner rather then later and how devastating it would be for everyone concerned, the police will be the best and quickest start as they will be able to advise with probably a visit from a community liaison officer,hope you get help within the next few days,please keep posting.

    (They will also report this to the DVLA)
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello Gail and welcome to Talking Point.
    Im afraid that this is a safety issue. If his driving has become dangerous then you need to report it. Do you really think that he will fill in the form correctly? After all, he hasnt been diagnosed with any problem. You are right, he could injure (or even kill) himself, his family or another road user. If you report him the DVLA wont just take your word for it - they will assess his driving to see whether he is OK or not.
  6. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I think the police is a good idea as a visit from a community officer may get the rest of the selfish family to pay attention; they would hopefully think twice before ignoring police advice. GPs can be good too but often take longer to act and some are reluctant to get involved in these issues even though they should.

    Don't delay; this is an accident waiting to happen to either your dad, your family or someone else and you can't let it go.
  7. Angie1996

    Angie1996 Registered User

    May 15, 2016
    When my dad got alzheimers, it was terrible watching him drive his car, but I went with him in the car for quite a while to monitor him and he was safe so I left it, but monitored him. He was a driving instructor for over 50 years, so I know he was very safe at driving.

    After 12 months it got to the point where he was getting dangerous, the breaking point was when he chopped off his ariel as he said it was making a noise, bought 6 cars over a matter of weeks, and was driving with his hazards on and wipers on, and kept blaming the cars for being at fault etc.

    I knew at that point I had to step in as I was scared he was going to either kill himself or someone else. I rang the practice manager where my dad was registered, she got him to come in, had a chat with him, quickly realised he was not right, and reported him to the DVLA so I did not have to do it, the GP did it in the end.

    This was the trigger to managing to get him to a memory clinic as he wanted his driving license back, so was compliant to be tested as I had to blag him.......

    He never got his license back...........

    you have to take action if you truly believe he is at risk, it took me many months to get to that point, but you will know when the time is right, go with your gut feeling and don't worry about anyone else!!
  8. cobden28

    cobden28 Registered User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Dad's driving.

    This is going to be extremely awkward for you, but for safety both of your dad as well as any other road users & pedestrians, I consider that it's best if he stops driving immediately. If he can't or won't stop driving by just you telling him to then I personally would go a step further and report your concerns to his GP and most certainly to the local police.

    Maybe your Dad will listen to the voice of authority, i.e. the police, more than you if he's told by the police he shouldn't be driving any more?

    Certainly you don't want to be a passenger in any car he drives, do you, just in case he is involved in an accident!

    Just a thought - is it possible for you to disable the car without his knowledge so that it can't be driven?
  9. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    Welcome to Talking Point.

    I take it your uncle doesn't/can't drive and your cousin, who is presumably over 17, hasnt passed his test himself? Maybe that's where the solution lies. ;)
  10. Oh Knickers

    Oh Knickers Registered User

    Nov 19, 2016

    We asked mother's Gerontologist and then GP to contact DVLA. They both refused. Frankly, we were wimping out of the decision.

    What I did was phone up DVLA. The guidance was to write a letter. I wrote a letter with the observations of the increasing damage mother was doing to her car and approximate time periods. Also, similar to your dad, she had had an impact with a traffic island and punctured two tyres.

    The DVLA revoked her licence. That was 18 months ago and she is still mad as hell about it. We just keep saying 'Oh, dear. Well, it was the DVLA'.

    The DVLA did not drop me in it. So it could have come from Gerontologist or from GP. However, I could not have lived with myself had she been involved in an accident.

    Time the DVLA letter with seeing the GP? Use any excuse that will go down the best (and consider family dynamics) - but get it done.
  11. john51

    john51 Registered User

    Apr 26, 2014
    Dunstable, Bedfordshire
    Dvla took my license away. It was the correct decision although I was under pressure to drive.
    It would be best to contact the GP. Hopefully they will call him in for a checkup. If someone drives after a Dr has said they mustnt it's an offense

    sent from my mobile
  12. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    Could you explain the situation to the local police? Tell them the number-plate of your Dad's car (they can look it up but make it easy for them!). Say when and where they're most likely to see your Dad driving in circumstances that will tax his driving skills ... and ask for a police car to shadow him and pull him over for friendly advice plus if appropriate a demand (to be followed up if necessary) that he stop driving immediately until after he's had afull driving assessment from DVLA? I think the police would help. They're the people who attend serious traffic accidents and see the harm and grief they cause. It's also much cheaper and quicker for the police to prevent an accident than deal with its consequences after it's happened.

    I do feel for you. I was the "horror" who tried to stop my Dad driving because he couldn't see well enough to do so; and who also refused to let him drive me anywhere. Much earlier on, Dad was the best driving instructor I ever had.
  13. nmintueo

    nmintueo Registered User

    Jun 28, 2011
    On what grounds? If the doctor knows the patient has a notifiable condition, such as Alzheimer's, and the patient has not reported it to DVLA, GMC ethics guidance to doctors says the doctor is under a duty to act:

    The driver is legally responsible for informing the DVLA or DVA about such a condition or treatment. However, if a patient has such a condition, you should explain to the patient ... that they have a legal duty to inform the DVLA or DVA about the condition.

    If you do not manage to persuade the patient to stop driving, or you discover that they are continuing to drive against your advice, you should contact the DVLA or DVA immediately and disclose any relevant medical information, in confidence, to the medical adviser.​

    Confidentiality: reporting concerns to the DVLA or the DVA

    Disclose to the DVLA if a patient should not be driving, doctors told

    ... though it seems commonplace for doctors to ignore that professional ethical responsibility (e.g. previous posting, landing family members in the dilemma GailM now faces.

    You can also contact DVLA confidentially online:
    DVLA email service to report drivers

    DVLA Email Us

    I have concerns over a person's fitness to drive and I wish to tell the DVLA
  14. Oh Knickers

    Oh Knickers Registered User

    Nov 19, 2016

    Actually, mother's GP did ask her to stop driving and she refused and she felt she was OK and that it was the other residents in her Retirement home that were damaging her car. The final evidence came in the form of stones embedded in her rear bumper where she had hit a friend's wall! That did not come from another car.

    Her Retirement home had also expressed concern as she was observed driving with a map on her steering wheel. (She had forgotten how to drive to a friend.) And this is a woman who could never read a map!

    So, hence contact with DVLA.

    Best of luck. It is a toughie. And toughie - not toffee.
  15. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London

    I think one of the biggest facts that stuck out for me in what you describe is that your father himself does not want to drive.

    That to me is a big obstacle that has already been dealt with as it is so often the case that folk are desperate not to stop driving.

    It is a shame that your dad is being put under pressure in this way - in any other situation he would be able to make a personal decision not to drive any more without actually having his licence taken away.

    But things are as they are and it looks like you will need to get the ball rolling. Your poor dad would never forgive himself if he caused injury or worse to others. He doesn't need to be put through that - and nor do the families of those he might affect

    He deserves to be able to live his life without needless pressure and worry.

    Please alert the DVLA to the situation. It might not make you popular with your cousin or other family members but it sounds like your father would feel very relieved to have the decision made for him in this instance.

    The family may well be able to argue with him and put pressure on him if he tries to make his own stand on this - but they can't argue or do anything about an officially revoked licence.

    I think it is great that you are standing up for your dad in all this, it is good that he has a voice on his side xx
  16. nmintueo

    nmintueo Registered User

    Jun 28, 2011
    Yes, if you have any way of ensuring or finding out that the form is filled in correctly. But under the circumstances (your dad living with family who want him to keep driving), perhaps it's not possible for you to ensure the form is filled correctly. Seems a fair bet the brother and nephew will want to make sure it gets filled in the way that suits them.

    There's the opportunity to raise it; do so (unless you can ensure that the DVLA form is filled correctly).

    Well, it could be anyone else, including of course this friend who has knowledge of your father's condition and his driving. Whether this friend would take the initiative without your prompting, or whether the family would believe it, is another matter, though.

    Your dad wants to stop driving - presumably because he doesn't feel safe driving?

    But he won't go to the doctor or the optician. Is that because he knows they would stop him driving, which he feels obligated to do, or for other reasons, such as being in denial that there's anything wrong? If he really thinks he should not drive, can you suggest he should see the doctor to make sure whether he's safe to drive?

    Why doesn't he do the driving, then?
  17. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015

    Exactly! And if the cousin 'doesn't feel safe' then likewise! Tell him to get on his bike - literally!

    Before I learnt to drive I cycled to and from work, 6.2 miles each way, rain or shine. Had thighs of steel.

    I wonder what will happen when the inevitable decline happens and your dear Dad is more of a challenge to live with? Will the family who is now taking advantage of him step up?

    This sort of thing makes me sooo mad...

    We had to tell my lovely Dad,nearly 3 years ago now, we didn't want him driving anymore. He has Vascular Parkinsonism and I was worried about his reaction times. It was awful but I'd do it again.

    My Dad didn't want to give up, but we explained that his condition HAS to be reported to the DVLA, that failure to do so could result in prosecution if he had an accident and it came out, even if it wasn't his fault, that the DVLA would probably tell him to stop driving due to his condition and his age (he was 86 at the time) and wouldn't it be better to give up driving on his own terms?

    It was only the second time in my life I've seen my Dad cry and it was me that made him. I'll remember it to my dying day.

    Your situation is easier in some respects (Dad doesn't want to continue to drive) but much more difficult in others. I think a chat with the rest of the family (assuming you've not done so already) emphasising the possibility of potential injury or death (especially theirs) is the next thing to do. I don't envy you though. Best of luck xxx
  18. GailM

    GailM Registered User

    Jan 1, 2017
    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to post. To cover a few questions which have been asked- I don't live with my Dad, he's around fifteen miles away. My Dad is the only one who can drive, and the rest of the family have no intention of learning. I rang the surgery goes to this morning and spoke to the receptionist. They won't do anything without my Dad's consent, and he won't give it. Plus I don't want him to know that the person who set the ball rolling is me (If I can help it). I will be seeing my own doctor tomorrow and am hoping I can give information that way. My Dad's friend has decided not to ring 101 back as she thinks the best way forward is to try somehow or other to get him to the doctors. His doctor is going to have to force him somehow(?) I'm hoping I will feel a bit better once I've spoken to my doctor. I was hoping my Dad might have a medication review due and then he could have been checked over at the same time. However the Receptionist checked me and it's not due. She couldn't believe the situation I've found myself in. She was shocked. I will post again once I've had my appointment. Thanks again to all those who have posted. x
  19. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    So frustrating for you, but if the rest of the family won't help you solve the problem and don't care that your dad is putting lives at risk (including his own and theirs) then I have zero sympathy with their predicament. Totally selfish behaviour. If you have to bite the bullet and inform DVLA yourself, I think you have to do it.
  20. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    I agree with Pickles. But try the police route as well. From a senior officer's point of view, there's no contest; the benefit of getting an unsafe driver off the road without anything bad happening to him or anyone else far outweighs the cost of sending an unmarked police car to monitor your Dad's driving for a few miles (given you'll have told them he'll be travelling a set route at a set time). The police won't prosecute your Dad but they will give your Dad a perfect reason for ending his driving career.

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