Kenneth Schiedel, an 83-year-old man, returned to his room in his Milwaukie, Oregon retirement community, leaving his car perched over the 2nd story wall of a parking garage. Schiedel said that he accidentally pressed the gas pedal instead of the brake causing his car to crash through a wall and once he extricated himself from his predicament, he went back to his room.
Luckily, Schiedel was not injured in the car accident. Last week, however, a 70-year-old man from Kelso, Washington crashed his car through a Nevada casino, killing two people and injuring eight others.
Both of these cases highlight the aging population in America and the potential for serious car accidents. It is important that senior citizens who continue driving at advanced age have the cognitive processing speed to handle the task. Currently, there are no standardized tests that screen the elderly for their ability to drive.
Elderly drivers actually have fewer motor vehicle accidents than teenage drivers but they driver fewer miles. Many elderly start limiting their driving to compensate for their eyesight and other physical factors. They might stop driving at night, on the freeway or out of familiar surroundings.
While giving up driving is a difficult decision for many elderly, the family and the person’s physician can help in making the decision. Usually, a threshold is reached in which the senior can no longer compensate for deficiencies in eyesight, cognitive processing and reflexes. The family can help by watching for warning signs of unsafe driving and helping their loved ones refresh their driving skills.
In Washington State, the AARP and other organizations offer driver safety programs for senior citizens. For more information, click here.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in car accidents and the family of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for you damages including pain and suffering.
Source: KOMO News.com – Elderly Driver leaves his car teetering on the edge, Feb. 8, 2010