Nightly News | October 09, 2012
>>> as we mentioned earlier, the moment is always so tough for older drivers and their adult children when the time comes and the judgment of those around you to stop driving. the good news is, the accident rate for older drivers is down of late. the chance of older drivers being involved in a fatal crash has been rising. miguel almaguer reports tonight on a growing problem for a number of americans.
>> reporter: with 61 years of experience behind the wheel, joan never thought she would have to go back to driver's ed. she's never been in an accident, never had a ticket. when she suffered a stroke, her driver's license was restricted by the california dmv.
>> the physician told me he was required by law to report to the state that i had had a stroke, and that meant that they would -- they may take my car keys. and that to me was like a death sentence.
>> reporter: when it comes to older drivers and the dmv, requirements for driver's license renewal vary from state to state, whether it's a vision, written or driving test , there is no standard national guideline. california and five other states require physicians to report patients who may be a risk on the road. but experts say with more americans driving into their 90s, more scrutiny is needed.
>> health care providers are not really knowledgeable about driving. and what are the circumstances in which somebody should not continue to drive.
>> reporter: aaa is trying to avoid accidents involving senior drivers. in 2003 , an 86-year-old plowed through a santa monica farmer's market killing ten. two months ago in los angeles , a 100-year-old driver hit a group of school children.
>> these serve as wakeup calls, not just for older drivers, but for their families to have the conversation and plan ahead.
>> reporter: joe johnson 's family is it beginning to have that conversation.
>> you don't want to be the person that takes away someone's freedom and independence.
>> reporter: their grandmother remains determined to drive well into her golden years.
>> i'm glad they're concerned, i'm glad they care.
>> reporter: she's now willing to listen when her family and doctors say, it's time to talk.