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PennDOT offers guidance on when it's time to stop driving

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week 02:00

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials were out Tuesday with guidance on when it's time for someone to give up their car keys.

"How am I going to get my car up here?" Sharon Beaver, 75, said.

That was Beaver's first question to her son Mark when she was moving to a senior home.

His answer?

"It might be time now to stop driving," Beaver said. "We argued back and forth, and it was a hard thing to give up."

In the end?

"It was the right thing to do," Beaver said.

And the right time, she says.

"Because I still have my marbles about me," she said. "I can still think."

This shuttle takes some people shopping and to doctor's appointments. In Beaver's case?

"Mostly my brother takes me everywhere I need to go," she said.

He picks her up and drops her off at the senior living home where Beaver lives and where commonwealth safety leaders gathered to talk about how to keep senior drivers and the people around them safe and when it's time for them to stop driving.

"As we do get older, it's important to be cognizant of our mental and medical health," Kurt Myers, deputy secretary for driver and vehicle services with PennDOT, said, "so we know what our limitations are."

Myers says signs someone should stop driving include unexplained dents or scrapes on the car -- or on a mailbox or garage near where it's parked -- frequently getting lost, slower response times and close calls with other drivers.

Officials say seniors who do continue driving should avoid rush-hour driving and concentrate on looking far down the road for people or obstructions.

Federal officials have produced a number of safety videos.

Experts say one key to getting seniors to give up the keys is to not just tell them why they should stop driving but give them good alternatives for getting around.

If they don't have a community shuttle or relative to drive them like Beaver has, Pennsylvania has a Senior Shared Rides program providing free bus trips and cheap curb-to-curb service for people 65 and older.

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