Most of us have had some experience with elderly drivers. Maybe you have encountered one in trafficking that seems to be driving awfully slow or appears lost. Many of us also have a family member who is elderly and is still driving their vehicle. Maybe you’ve had to sit down with that family member and discuss with them whether they really should still be driving. If so, then you know it’s not an easy conversation or an easy decision. It is, however, a conversation and a decision that should be had more frequently as the consequences of avoiding the issue may be deadly. That may have been he case this month in Vista, California.
Lucas Giaconelli, 15, was skateboarding with friends along Thibodo Road in Vista on a Friday evening when a car hit him and failed to stop. Lucas dies almost immediately. Police might not have had any leads, but for a 92 year old man who stopped at the roadside vigil the following day. According to the elderly gentleman, he had been driving past the spot the night before and thought he hit an owl. After escorting the gentleman back to his house, law enforcement personnel found damage on the front end of his red Mustang. They are awaiting forensic tests to determine if he is indeed responsible for the teenagers death. This is hardly the only recent California accident raising questions about elderly drivers. Last October, a 75 year old driver with a bad hip was killed when he mistook the break for the gas petal and drove right off a cliff. Another elderly man lead police on a “slow-speed” chase through Vista because according to him he “didn’t notice” the six squad cars and police helicopter that were following him. Last summer an elderly coupled escaped with only minor injuries when they plowed directly into a Chula Vista home.
So why are potentially dangerous elderly drivers still given driver’s licenses? First, no one wants to take away their independence. After all, we will all be elderly some day as well. Having said that, the Department of Motor Vehicles does require anyone over the age of 70 to come in a pass a vision and written retest to renew their license every five years. The only way an elderly person’s license can be taken away from them is if they are involved in an accident or the police or a family member petition to have it taken away.
If you have been involved with an accident and you believe that the age of the driver may have been a contributing factor, then seek the advice of a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If the driver’s negligence caused, or contributed to, the accident then you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages that you have suffered as a result of the accident. The attorneys at Ledger & Associates have been fighting for the victims of car accidents in California for 12 years and are available for a consultation by calling 1-800-300-0001 or by contacting them online at www.ledgerlaw.com