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Another person killed by an elderly driver

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Smallpotatoes, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member


    There have been a lot of these around here lately and the state legislature is considering a law that would take drivers licenses from anyone with some sort of cognitive impairment.
    About four years ago, I had my own run-in with an elderly driver. She was backing out of her driveway while I was waiting at a red light with one car in front of me and one car behind me. She backed right into the side of my car.
    Over and over she said "You're not going to get anything out of me. I'm just a crazy old lady."
    I asked her if she had insurance. She told me she didn't. I asked her if she had a license and she told me she didn't. She said she was 83 and seemed to think that after a certain age a person could legally operate a vehicle without a license. She also seemed surprised that I did not know that.
    She also seemed to think I was at fault because I didn't try to get out of her way, never mind that at a red light with cars in front of me and behind me I couldn't go anywhere. And I don't believe the law says I have any obligation to try to avoid the collision in that circumstance.
    I asked her why she was driving without a license and she said she still needed to get around. Since she was living alone in a suburban area, I guess that was understandable.
    There was no visible damage to my car so I went on my way. I also figured that the next guy might not be so lucky so I called the police. After they visited her, they called me back. They said she actually did have insurance, but no license. They told her not to drive again until she retook the test. They also said they really didn't feel like hauling an 83-year-old woman into jail, but they left it up to me if I wanted to go through the process of reporting the accident because my car wasn't damaged. I decided to let it go, as long as I could be assured she wouldn't be driving for a while.
    I guess my point is that sometimes taking away somebody's license isn't enough. As long as they have a car, they'll drive. Maybe something needs to be done about that.
  2. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    When my first mother-in-law began exhibiting some of the early signs of Alzheimers, everyone in the family took notice. But it wasn't until perhaps a year later, when she was driving us, that she stopped at a highway crossover, saw oncoming traffic, said, twice, "I'll wait," then gunned it and damn near got us hit.

    No one in the family had any problem with very gently taking both her license and her keys, and not long after, taking care of her, too.

    She was 62.

    I'm not sure what's a good age to begin testing, but man, they do need it. It's not disrespect and I can't understand why lawmakers just don't show some solidarity for once and push for a nationwide effort to try and protect lots of people. Including the elderly drivers.
  3. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    My grandfather was a better driver at 90 than my best friend at 30. I think it totally depends on the person and I don't know what a fair age is for retesting.
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    That REALLY rings true with me right now, smallpotatoes. When an 83-year-old man drilled me at an intersection two weeks ago, he got out of his car and said, "I tried to run it!" Then, realizing what a dumb ass thing that was to say, he quickly countered, "but I had the green light!" Motherfucker.
  5. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    It's reason #718 that I could never make it into politics.

    If I was tha guv'nuh, I would face DUI-like penalties for:
    - Texting while driving.
    - Dogs/pets on laps while driving.

    Once a driver hits age 65, they have to come in, every 2 years, for a little driving test. Old people vote and this will NEVER become law because it's politically risky.

    I now read FAR too many stories around this part of the world about teens dead from texting while driving, loose pets causing crashes and old folks driving right into the path of semis.
  6. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Ding ding ding. Truer words have rarely been posted.
  7. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    In Mass. there's a bill to start testing seniors at age 85.....85!!??? Most people are dead by that age. Start testing at age 70...and if they're able to safely drive, they'll past the test.

    Right now, you take a drivers test at age 16 1/2, and never half to take one again, it's ridiculous.
  8. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I'm with you, Ashy, except here you can get your license at 15 1/2 (restricted, no passengers except family unil you're 17 or something like that). It's scary. My grandpa was driving right up until the day he died, and he had some sort of dementia.
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Went throough something similar wth mu mother who had macular degeneration in her later years and refused to admit how bad her eyesight was. Afterall "I only drive locally."
    Then, at age 81, she had an accident when she pulled out in front of a car she did not see coming. Fortunately no one was hurt but the woman who hit her was very upset and cerned about my mother ... whose answer always was "I'm fine."
    As my sisters and I were plotting how we were going to tell her she was not getting the car repaired and she was not going to drive any more, she miraculously came to that realization herself.
    She lived six more years, constantly complaining that she hated being an old lady who couldn't go anywhere by herself. Stubborn old girl, she was.
  10. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Paul Harvey could have helped your mother.
  11. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    I've been in two crashes in my life, both with serious damage to my vehicle but no injuries. One driver ran a red light. He was 85. The other driver pulled right in front of me while trying to cross a pretty busy street. He was 84, and his wife told me she knew he shouldn't be driving (and she's very lucky she wasn't seriously hurt).

    On the other hand, my grandmother is 84 and still drives sometimes, so I have some sympathy. But it's not clear how well she drives these days.

    I have to say I come down on the side that testing should be required, and I'd say 70 or 75 would be a good age to start.
  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    I've never understood why the law doesn't mandate that everyone re-take both the written and driving tests every so often. Make it every two years from say 16-20, every four or five from 21-60 and every two again from that point. If you're a good driver, you'll pass -- no harm, no foul. If you're not, you shouldn't be driving anyway and this gives the rest of us an excuse to not let you.

    It's not like there aren't crappy 30-year-old drivers. And it's not like people don't forget certain rules of the road over time.
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