May 22

Too old to drive?

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My client was just standing on the sidewalk when a car came driving up on the sidewalk and striking him. After a helicopter ride to the trauma center where he spent days in the critical care unit, he is now trying to recover from his injuries. We later found out that the driver that forever changed this client’s life was over 90 years old. She apparently “failed to maneuver” the curve in the road.

When is someone too old to drive? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the death rate per mile traveled for drivers over 85 is four times that of the 30-59 age group. In 2003, more than 5,300 Americans older than 70 died in car accidents. The only group more dangerous than senior citizens is teenagers.

Obviously, the elderly woman who caused the car accident with my client clearly had trouble judging distances and perception–a problem that many elderly drivers battle. Boomers will begin turning 65 in 2011. By 2030, one out of five drivers will be 65 or older.

What should be done? Should their driver’s licenses be pulled after a certain year? Does the lack of public transportation in many areas keep many seniors on the road longer than they should be?

I don’t know the answers and would like your thoughts. However, I do know that my client’s life–and many clients before him–is forever changed because a 90-year old woman clearly should not have been driving that day.

Drive safely and be prepared for those who do not.

  1. Krystal 22 May 2008 | reply

    My grandma is a healthy 85 year old and gave up her driving privileges at 70. When I asked her why-she said that she isn’t as quick as she used to be. I drive up and down 19 everyday and it can be quite scary. I think after a certain age- like 65 maybe- you should have to take a test and also provide medical records. A lot of elderly people are on a bunch of medications (that must prevent their ability to make decisions behind the wheel) and have conditions that can cause them to jerk or loss control of their vehicle. I think if the State but as much thought into elder drivers as they do teenage ones, the road would be a safer place.

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