Hollywood legend Judi Dench has revealed she’s had to give up driving for good, as her eyesight continues to deteriorate due to macular degeneration.
The 84-year-old spoke openly about her health woes during a chat with Radio Times, recalling the difficult moment she was forced to hand in her licence for good as she struggles to even read a newspaper, the Daily Express reports.
While the star admitted it hasn’t been easy giving up her freedom, she said it was the smartest idea for her as she feared injuring herself, or worse others, if she was to remain on the road.
“A couple of years ago I stopped driving which was one of the most traumatic moments of my life,” Dench explained in the interview. “It was absolutely appalling. But I just know I’ll kill somebody if I get behind the wheel of a car now.”
Although she willingly gave up driving, a report published earlier this year sparked a debate about whether family members should step in if they suspect an elderly or sick relative is no longer safe behind the wheel.
The data, released by the South Australian Department of Transport and published in The Advertiser, revealed that people in the state are increasingly dobbing in their loved ones to the authorities, fearing that their ability to drive safely has been impaired by serious medical conditions or due to their age.
The figures revealed that during the 2017/18 financial year, 3027 drivers had their licence taken away, with 2389 of them aged 75 years or older.
Discussing the topic on The Morning Show, Natalie Barr asked panellists whether they would dob in a family member if they thought they were a danger, with co-star Mark Beretta admitting he would not hesitate to report his own family members if he believed them to be a danger to themselves or other road users.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You’d sit down with them and say, ‘Mum, Dad, this is time. You know you’re struggling when you get out on the road, you know you’re not safe’.
“We went through it with Rach’s dad a few years ago and we flagged it, he knew at the same time. I understand not everything happens that way but you can talk it through.”
This followed news in February this year that Prince Philip had given up his licence after being involved in a horror crash. The 97-year-old was left shaken when the car he was driving collided with a Kia carrying two women and a nine-month-old baby on a quiet road in Sandringham, Norfolk. While the duke escaped unhurt, one of the other car’s passengers, Emma Fairweather, broke her wrist.
After much speculation from the public over whether or not he was too old to be on the road, Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement that the duke had chosen to surrender his licence.
“After careful consideration The Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence,” a palace spokesperson said, according to multiple news reports.