In a motor vehicle crash that is making national headlines, a 100-year-old driver backed into 14 people on Wednesday when he accidentally reversed his car into a group that was waiting to cross the street close to a Los Angeles, CA school. 11 kids and three adults were hurt, with at least two of the victims still in the hospital yesterday.
The elderly driver, Preston Carter, claims that he hit the pedestrians because the brakes on his Cadillac failed. Police are looking to see if this is, indeed, what happened. However, because of his advanced age, the incident is bringing up the familiar debate of if there should be a time when an elderly senior citizen is too old to drive. In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston pedestrian injury law firm if you believe that your traffic crash injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.
While many elderly motorists remain mentally alert and active, there are those that pose a danger to themselves and others every time they are in the driver’s seat. Obviously there is no one size fits all answer to when someone may no longer able to safely operate a motor vehicle. Yet, with people living longer these days and the senior population growing-1 out of every 5 derivers will be a senior citizen by 2030-it is important to acknowledge that at some point, a senior driver might have to give up his/her driver’s license and let someone else take the wheel. This can be tough, as driving is a key to freedom, independence, transportation, and life beyond the home for many people.
However, aging may affect one’s ability to drive safely. The older a person gets, one’s mental faculty and ability to react quickly to emergency situations could slow down. Making decisions and processing information might take more time. Also, many seniors tend to be on medications for different conditions. While these drugs can help their health and reduce pain, some of them can also slow down reaction time and cause drowsiness, which may make it hard for the motorist to stay alert and attentive while driving.
It doesn’t help that there are certain health issues associated with aging that can make it hard for a senior to operate a motor vehicle. Alzheimer’s leads to memory loss, while diabetes can cause blood sugar problems, vision issues, and nerve damage. Parkinson’s affects mobility, and a stroke can cause brain, balance, and muscle problems.
It is a motorist’s responsibility to make sure that he/she is able to drive safely. Failure to take this obligation seriously has been known to lead to serious Boston car accidents, injuries, and wrongful deaths.
100-year-old driver’s car examined after he hits 14 people, Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2012
Mature Drivers, MASS.dot
Safe Driver Checklist (PDF)
More Blog Posts:
Brighton Woman Struck by Company Tow Truck & Dies, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 17, 2012
Elderly Driver Hits Three Pedestrians in Concord, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2012