Breaking news! On my local station..Elderly women drives on sidewalk at shopping center.. Strikes 3 people kills 1 and injures herself..

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She now faces homicide charges... Imagine your parent in prison, when this could have been avoided.

Take the keys and car away and make yourself or someone available to transport elder to appts. or errands..

So sad!!


That Natick shopping center is difficult to maneuver for any driver. I cannot imagine an elderly driver attepmtong it. Unfortuneately, Massachusetts is a self reporting state when it comes to having driving impairments.
I always bristle when the "elderly driver" stories come on because just the fact someone is elderly doesn't automatically make them a menace on the road, and we never seem to hear the full story. Plus I have seen people in their 60's described as elderly drivers, and there are plenty of stories where younger people have driven over pedestrians.
That said, yes, if there are any doubts at all about your own or a loved ones abilities, get off the road. I've often thought we should have graduated licences for seniors: no freeways and home by dark, no travel beyond 50 km from home?
Correction.. She hasn't been charged
A &A, I'm not challenging you directly, just expressing an opinion here.

I really hate this anti-elder attitude. Sometimes I think it gets more attention than drunk drivers causing accidents.

Perhaps this woman had to swerve and get on the sidewalk to avoid some young idiots walking and texting or playing on their wireless devices while in the driving lanes. I've had to swerve or slam on the brakes because of this several times.

One man almost caused an exit ramp pile-up when he drifted at right angles to the ramp, across a concrete barrier, down the side, over another barrier and directly onto the exit ramp. It was obvious that he was distracted as I was the first to almost hit him and I clearly saw a handheld device in his hand; he wasn't even looking at the traffic.

Granted, he may have some other mental issues to manage drifting down an incline onto the ramp, but that device was clearly his object of attention.

And while older drivers can be hazardous to the public, they're not Public Enemies No 1. I've yet to read that an elderly person armed with an AK-47 has shot or wounded several people in a mass murder situation b/c he/she felt alienated from society. There's a lot of potential rage in younger people who are disenfranchised, and it does of course garner major publicity. But it's a lot different than an older person losing faculties accidentally creating an accident, which I'm not excusing. I'm just suggesting that it be kept in perspective.
It's about reflexes and reflexes decline with age. Part of looking ahead while driving is looking out for something that may jump out into traffic and cause you to swerve because you won’t have enough time to stop. By keeping an open space beside you, you can swerve into the EMPTY LANE and learn to do it without going off the side of the road. This is a SKILL best learned in a defensive driving class. A SIDEWALK at a mall is NOT an EMPTY LANE.

Another option is to not swerve in order to avoid hitting something in the road, since most new cars are designed to take the front-end collision. Swerving to miss something can cause a driver to LOSE CONTROL of the vehicle, possibly causing WORSE results.

Those are the facts and most elder drivers should take a defensive driving course. Perhaps it should coincide with Medicare. That would be fair. You want to drive? Great! PROVE that you still have the necessary skills. That there's no drivers education refresher requirement for old drivers is insane. Just like we don't put teenagers on the road without drivers education, old people shouldn't be on the road without drivers education.
NY DIL, AAA does have a course of sorts for older drivers.
Thank you very much for posting this, AA. We need constant reminders that we simply MUST take the keys away before tragedy happens. We know it. We just find it sooo hard. Good post.

If I may...."I want to die peacefully in my sleep like gramps did...not screaming in terror like the people in the back seat of his car."

My apologies in advance.
LOL Maggie!
cwillie, I bristle, too, anytime I read a story about an elderly driver and to me 60 isn't elderly!! Most of the serious wrecks in my area where people had died were teen drivers.

I remember recently reading of a young woman in her 20's who plowed into Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade with her car killing 4 and injuring 50.

One thing that gets me is when I see an elder using a Smartphone while driving. Now who in their right mind gave the elder such a device? I am sure the elder wasn't standing outside the Apple store for 10 hours waiting for a new updated device to go on sale.

I know some accidents with elders have to do with mixing up the gas and brake pedal. I grew up learning to drive using my left foot for the brake, my Dad was a left foot braker, so was his Dad. Maybe it is time to make that more of the normal then right foot for both pedals. Just a suggestion.
I know AAA has a course but it's not mandatory and something should be because driving is a privilege. And invoking all the bad 20-something drivers is a red herring. Driving in this country needs to be safer - for young people, for commercial drivers, for old people - and we all need to help make that happen.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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