PORTLAND, Ore. -- As baby-boomers become America's largest generation of senior drivers, a sensitive question arises.
When is the right time to give up one's car keys?
Just returned from a month-long RV adventure, 76-year-old Nancy Rorden and her friend Teresa Carney are no strangers to long-distance driving.
We've done two trips to Mexico, she said.
But Nancy realizes it can't last forever. I hope that if I need to stop driving before she does that she would tell me.
They live at Rose Villa Senior Living Center in Southeast Portland. So does 81-year-old Margaret Pritchard who recently gave up her driving license.
I had the accident which was a real eye-opener, she said, referring to an incident where a driver diagnosed with aggressive dementia ran a stop sign and plowed into her car, badly hurting her knee.
I knew I was getting older. I knew it was something that wasn't going to get well, said Pritchard, a retired engineer.
While she has seen the troubling news stories about seniors driving into banks or doing inadvertent harm to others, Pritchard's decision to stop driving was a practical one.
Do your numbers. Do your logic, she urges other seniors.
Dr. Michael Mega, a neurologist at Providence St. Vincent Hospital, evaluates patients' thinking abilities.
Through brain scans and cognitive exams, the doctor can tell whether its time for the DMV to reevaluate someone's driving privileges.
It's a decision most people find it hard to make for themselves. Driving is a key component of that spectrum of activity of independence for men, in particular, I think, said Dr. Mega.
In Oregon last year, doctors reported to DMV 1525 patients with driving impairments.
Two-thirds of those drivers saw their licenses suspended immediately.
13 percent, though, were able to regain their driving privileges after passing vision, knowledge and road tests.
If I think that what I'm doing is not safe then it's probably time to think about quitting, said Rorden.
Until then, she and Teresa -masters of RV vacationing- will roll from paradise to paradise, enjoying life on the road to the best of their abilities.
By 2015, the Federal Government predicts one in five licensed drivers will be at least 65-years-old.
Today's number of senior drivers will double by 2030.
Drivers over age 85 have a worse fatality rate than those in their teens and 20s.