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By Liza Horvath


More on Senior Driving 


Apparently the accepted idea that seniors lose mental acuity as they age is simply not true – at least not for the seniors that contacted me to point out a mistake in my recent column. Last week’s Senior Advocate stated that, “According to the California Department of Vehicles, of the 5.5 million drivers in our state, 2.5 million are age 70 or older.” In fact, there are 24,290,288 licensed drivers in California, as of January 1, 2013, and over two million of these drivers are age 70 and older.  This information is according to Artemio Armenta, Public Information Officer with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, who also wanted to make sure that senior drivers are aware of the Department of Motor Vehicles Senior Ombudsman Program created specifically to keep seniors driving for as long as they can do so safely and to ensure that they are treated fairly. If a senior driver feels their license was unduly restricted, inappropriately revoked or that they were otherwise treated poorly by the DMV, the Ombudsman can work as a “go-between” in an effort to correct any faults. The Ombudsman’s office that serves our area can be reached at 510-563-8998. 


Retaining the right to drive and the independence it represents is hugely important to most seniors. Losing a license can mean that seniors must come to rely on family, if any, or neighbors and friends for transportation. Public transportation can be difficult to access and, if the senior is physically challenged, a day spent waiting for the bus and possibly changing buses can make such an undertaking impossible.


The Independent Transportation Network of Monterey County is a non-profit membership organization helping people aged 60 and older with customized rides to and from appointments, for shopping or just for fun. Members prefund a personal transportation account and then use the funds to travel freely. A statement is sent monthly to the member detailing any funds expended and providing the option to add more for future rides. ITN can be reached at www.itnmontereycounty.org or by phone in Monterey 233-3447 or Salinas 240-0850.


Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) has several programs to assist non-driving seniors. A Senior Shuttle runs weekdays on two routes – Line 91 Sand-City – Pacific Meadows and Line 92 Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula – Pacific Meadows via Carmel. Line 93 Monterey – Pacific Meadows via Carmel runs on weekends.


MST also has a taxi voucher program designed to assist those who cannot drive. Qualified persons can obtain vouchers to travel free of charge – with a small co-pay - and on their own schedules by taxi. Each city disburses vouchers to residents so seniors should contact their city hall, a local senior center or MST at 393-8108 for more information. Information for MST including “travel training” – instructional programs to help seniors understand transportation options – is found at www.mst.org or 888-678-2871.


California’s aging population is both creating and being challenged by escalating transportation challenges. While the current solutions are good, boomers and seniors alike need to continue to be inventive when it comes to mobility – it will benefit all of us.


Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com










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