How old is too old to drive? A recent accident focuses attention on the risk of driving at older ages.
In February, Doreen Landstra was backing out of a handicapped parking space at the Sugar Creek Country Club in her Chevrolet Tahoe sports utility vehicle. Negotiating the parking space, Ms. Landstra thought her car was in drive and gunned the motor. The car was instead, still in reverse.
As the car hurtled backward, it struck seven people, killing three elderly women and injuring four others. Ms. Landstra was uninjured and issued a citation for improper backing. Conviction on the offense could lead to license suspension for six months and a $1,000 fine. Ms. Landstra, a Bradenton resident, is 79 years old.
The accident is the second for Ms. Landstra within several years. Approximately two years ago, Ms. Landstra mistook the brake pedal of her SUV for the gas pedal and hit a McDonalds restaurant in Michigan.
The ability to drive a vehicle declines with age. Although older drivers are well-experienced, they have diminished physical, cognitive and visual skills. Certain conditions affect driving ability including:
- Heart disease
- Sleep dysfunction
- Loss of visual acuity
If you have an elderly loved one, an honest evaluation of his or her driving skills is important. Some difficulties can be addressed with proper adjustment of car equipment like mirrors, steering wheel, headrest and seats. Annual vision checks can assure eyesight is as good as it can be.
Other issues such as a loss of flexibility, memory and decision making ability can prove fatal—to either the driver or those in his or her path.
While independence for seniors is important, it must be tempered with the safety of those who share roads and parking lots. If you are injured in an automobile accident caused by negligence in Bradenton, speak with a skilled injury attorney.