This is an excerpt from one of the recent episodes of ‘Do I Need a Lawyer?’ hosted by: Gary Martin Hays.
If you have a question you would like for me to answer, or if you would like to speak with me regarding a potential claim, please pick up the phone and give us a call right now.
The number is on the screen – and so is my email address – Gary@garymartinhays.com.
Now I’d like to talk about a case I’m handling involving a defendant that should not have been behind the wheel.
My client and his wife were at a stop sign waiting for traffic to clear so they could turn left.
The Defendant was an 82 year old female in a large grand marquis.
As she was approaching my client’s car from behind, she mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes.
She violently rammed into the rear of my client’s small Toyota – causing extensive damage to the car and to my clients.
When the police arrived at the scene, the Defendant driver was very disoriented. She had no idea what happened, where she was, or where she intended on going.
Bottom line, this woman never should have been behind the wheel.
Not only did she put her life in jeopardy by driving, she also put innocent victims at risk when she drove.
This is a tough issue but it is one that should be answered.
And just how big is this problem?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 there were more than 5,500 older adults killed and more than 183,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes.
This equals 15 older adults killed each day and almost 500 injured per day.
In 2012, there were 5,560 people aged 65 and older killed, and 214,000 people injured.
With the population in the US getting older and older, these numbers may only increase if efforts are not made to keep older adults safe on the road.
When should a senior driver no longer be allowed to drive a car?
As we age, our motor skills, vision and response times deteriorate.
We simply can’t respond or react as quickly as we could when we were younger.
Many people agonize over the decision as to when to take away the keys from mom or dad.
Let me give you some signs – some things to consider – to decide whether or not it is time for you – or your parents to hang up the keys.
Does he or she:
* Drive too fast or too slow on the highway – especially in relation to the other traffic on the road?
* Rely on other people in the car to determine distance between vehicles for parking or turning?
* Get lost on the road – even in familiar areas?
* Slowly drift out of their lane of travel – either across the center line or on the edge of the road?
* Forget to turn on headlights at dusk? Or the wiper blades when it is raining?
* Ignores, disobeys or fails to notice traffic signals or street signs?
* Has difficulty seeing at night – especially when there are oncoming headlights.
* Has difficulty seeing pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcycles on the highway.
* Fails to yield to others that may have the right of way?
These are all factors to consider when trying to decide whether or not it is best to keep them from driving.
At a minimum, you can at least try to reduce the times when they are driving.
* have them stop driving at night.
* Drive only in familiar areas.
* Avoid interstates and areas that can get congested
* Avoid rush hour traffic
* Never have them drive alone.
Another thing you can do is to rely upon a medical doctor to evaluate whether or not they feel an elderly person is capable of safety operating a vehicle.
* When was the last time they had a full physical – including having their eyesight and hearing checked?
* Have they been diagnosed with any kind of medical condition which should prevent them from driving?
* Are they on any medications that could make them drowsy or less responsive?
If you have more questions about this, I encourage you to check out the National Traffic Highway Safety’s website as it is packed with information that can help older drivers.
I know this is a lot of information.
If you or someone you know has been injured because of the negligence of any aged driver, the easiest thing to do is just pick up the phone and give me a call to discuss your claim.
The call is free, completely confidential, and there is no obligation whatsoever.