Aging, Driving, and Public Health: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Approach
Florida Coastal Law Review, Forthcoming
46 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 10, 2009
The problem of elder drivers experiencing impariments that diminish their driving abilities raises serious concerns for public health and safety. Although this is an important health problem, existing state practices are inadequate in several respects and impose unnecessary negative social, economic, health, and psychological consequences for many of the elder drivers whose driving privileges are restricted or terminated.
This article uses the approach of Therapeutic Jurisprudence to examine these issues by focusing attention on the antitherapeutic consequences of existing rules and practices. Therapeutic jurisprudence provides a useful complement to public health strategies for dealing with these issues. We seek to balance the public health needs of the community with the desire to minimize the negative consequences that existing practices pose on the psychological wellbeing of elder drivers and their families. We propose a comprehensive solution based on the Social Ecology of Health model augmented by principles and approaches of therapeutic jurisprudence. This model, which we call the Safe Driving Center, combines screening and assessment, remedial/rehabilitation interventions, education and training, individual and family counseling, and a comprehensive community-based approach for dealing with the problem preventatively. Whenever possible, the center will seek to persuade impaired elder drivers voluntarily to cease or restrict their driving by offering inducements and alternative transportation solutions.
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