Last winter, at the age of 85, Dolores Munson grew impatient while waiting behind a police car that had pulled over another vehicle about a mile from her home in Stratford, New Jersey. Eager to see what was happening, she swerved into the adjacent lane to get a closer look, admitting that she was being a bit nosy. However, her distraction led to a collision with the front of the police car, causing significant damage to her white VW Passat, including a broken axle. Fortunately, the police cruiser escaped unscathed.
Upon receiving the call about the incident, Joan Smeraski hoped that perhaps the police’s involvement might compel her mother to stop driving. She had been attempting to convince her mother to give up her car keys for several months, but her mother valued the freedom that came with having her own vehicle.
Smeraski’s hopes were ultimately dashed as the police didn’t issue any citations to Munson. Moreover, her insurance company and the body shop handling the repairs were quite understanding and accommodating. In a last effort to prevent her mother from driving, Smeraski asked Munson’s doctor to write a note advising against driving, citing Munson’s “mild to moderate cognitive decline,” and prominently placed it on her mother’s refrigerator.