PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula police say a 93-year-old man became disoriented while driving Monday and ended up going the wrong way on Highway 90, hitting another vehicle. Both drivers had to be hospitalized.
Police say accidents involving the elderly don't happen often. Only about one percent of the last year's wrecks involved people over 65. Still, as we age, or watch our parents age, the question comes up: How long should someone stay on the road?
At 76, John Snow still drives and just renewed his license for another eight years.
"Just because a person is elderly don't mean they can't drive," said Snow.
He thinks, when it comes to giving licenses, it should come down to judgement.
"Well, I think it depends on the people's health. You know, when they go get their license, they should be able to see what kind of condition they're in," said Snow.
Bill Williams said that's what happens for the most part. He's the State Coordinator for AARP Driver Safety. Williams said if you can't pass a physical or an eye exam, you don't get a license no matter what your age.
"As we get older, we change," Williams said. "We have to change our driving habits as we get older, plain and simple."
Williams volunteers with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program to teach people how to adapt their driving to their abilities. He also teaches a class called 'We Need To Talk' to give people the tools they need to talk to their loved ones about when it's time to turn in their keys.
Connie Stage had that conversation with her 95-year-old mother.
"She kept telling everybody, my brothers and everybody, that I'd taken her freedom away," said Stage.
She said it was one of the toughest things she's had to do.
"Even though she was mad at me and grumbled, I had to stand firm," she said reflecting on the hard time.
Knowing when it's time to stop driving isn't easy, and the answer is different for everyone.
"I think every few years they should be tested," Stage said.
Stage's mom realizes now that her daughter was only looking out for her safety.
If you're interested in taking an AARP Driver Safety course, call Bill Williams at (228) 432-7816, or visit the AARP's website: http://bit.ly/1iy3ohC