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55 percent of boomers worry about parents' driving, only 23 percent are talking about it

© iStockphoto.com / Yulia Saponova © iStockphoto.com / Yulia Saponova

By Richard Read

As baby boomers reach retirement age, many are faced with a difficult conundrum: balancing the challenges of their own golden years with the demands of elderly family members. 

If they're fortunate enough to have living parents, chances are, boomers are concerned about their parents' ability to get around -- specifically, their ability to drive. According to a new study from Liberty Mutual Insurance, those worries trouble some 55 percent of boomers. In fact, they're more worried about mom and dad getting behind the wheel than they are about one of their younger family members driving under the influence.

But despite such concerns, few baby boomers are having these important conversations with mom and dad. Though 90 percent agree that it's important to discuss driving safety with their parents, a meager 23 percent are doing so. And somewhat shockingly, 29 percent say that they plan to stick their heads in the sand and avoid the topic altogether.

Liberty Mutual's data was collected from some 1,007 adults between the ages of 40 and 65 who have at least one living parent who drives. Only 38 percent of those surveyed think that their parents would even entertain a conversation about curtailing their driving or giving it up once and for all. Other interesting stats reveal that:

- 46 percent of respondents believe that such a discussion would make their parents feel angry or hurt.

- 31 percent believe that their parents would complain about the lack of alternatives for getting around. And 22 percent believe that discussing the matter would simply make their parents dig in their heels and become even more determined to stay behind the wheel.

We've written about this issue a number of times, and we believe strongly that, as painful and awkward as it may be, having a discussion with your parents about their driving skills is absolutely, 100 percent necessary. If you're in this situation, here are four links you'll find useful:


- Older drivers are more likely than teens to be involved in a fatal accident.

- Older drivers police their own driving habits to ensure they can keep their licenses.


- Fitness-to-Drive screens older drivers for safety.

- Keeping Us Safe provides a workbook and other tools to make the conversation easier.

If you've broached this touchy subject with your parents or other elderly family members, drop us a note and let us know how it went.

This story originally appeared at The Car Connection 
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