Elderly Woman Injures Concertgoers After Driving Into Crowd
Concertgoers got more than they anticipated at a recent outdoor gathering in Arma Heights when an elderly driver drove into the crowd after hitting the gas pedal instead of the brakes. Nine people were injured in the incident, and two of them sustained serious injuries, during which the driver drove onto a dance floor set up in the Greenbrier Commons parking lot. The woman, who had been one of the approximate 100 attendees of the concert, was pulling out of her parking space when she confused the gas pedal and the brake. She hit the other concertgoers before striking a telephone pole. The woman was injured along with eight others. Police are investigating the incident and are reviewing whether any charges will be filed against the driver.
The Privilege Of Driving
Driving is a privilege that most of us take for granted, particularly the longer we are licensed drivers. Earning one’s driver’s license is a rite of passage and symbolizes our entry into adulthood and all the freedoms that come with it. At the other end of the spectrum, our elderly population cherishes the freedom that keeping their driving license and their own vehicle represents. Certainly it is not something that many people look forward to, either having to relinquish their keys or being placed in the situation of having to curb one’s elderly relatives. Despite this, however, there are arguments to make for limiting or restricting driving activities for those of advanced age – recognizing the warning signs that one has lost some of the skills that are required for safe driving is important and helps keep everyone safe on the road.
One of the first steps that needs to happen as elderly drivers and those who care for them consider whether to stop driving is to gain an understanding of how the effects of aging affect one’s driving ability. There is no magic formula to determine when someone has reached the age at which they should stop driving; it is different for everyone. Statistics show that elderly drivers are involved in proportionately more accidents than younger drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatal accident rates begin to increase in the early 70s and are at the highest for drivers aged 85 or older. This increased tendency to be involved in crashes may be due to the slowing down of reflexes and vision or hearing issues that accompany old age. The loss of strength and flexibility that many older people experience can impair their ability to control their car, particularly when quick action and responses are necessary. Recognizing limitations of older drivers is an important first step in determining whether or not it is time to stop driving.
Concessions For Older Drivers
Recognizing limitations of one’s driving ability does not necessarily mean that driving must come to a complete stop. In some cases, adjustments to the time of driving, the length of car trips, or changes in equipment to compensate for lessened abilities may avoid the need to give up the keys for good. Keeping yourself in good physical shape, choosing a vehicle that is easy to drive, and being aware of the limitations you may have will help allow you to continue driving more safely in your older years.
Recognizing Changes In Abilities
An elderly person’s health plays a big part in whether they can safely continue to drive. Changes in medical circumstances such as medications, changes in eyesight or hearing, memory loss, and confusion can affect driving ability and contribute to problems on the road. Additionally, changes in driving behaviors such as sporadic lane changes and drifting, braking too much or too little, problems controlling steady driving speeds, or improper signal usage are indications that driving abilities may have become impaired. One of the most glaring signs that driving ability has decreased is an increase in tickets or warnings or in the number of near misses or minor fender benders. All of these can indicate that reflexes have slowed to a point where safety is a concern.
Freedom From Driving
Though many elderly drivers may view handing in their driver’s license as a loss of independence, putting your trust in others to get you where and when you need to go can be a relief as well. The health benefits of walking for short distance trips, expanding your social circle to find alternate transportation options, and not having to pay for the cost of maintaining a vehicle can help to soften the blow of giving up driving, particularly when you can also feel good about putting safety ahead of pride.
Support During The Transition From Driver To Passenger
Various organizations, including AARP, acknowledge the difficult issue of giving up driving and have compiled lists of warning signs and tips including the various concepts discussed above in an effort to help people adjust to becoming a passenger. Finding ways to talk about the issue with elderly friends and family members may be difficult, but in the long run it helps to keep everyone safer. AARP offers several useful tips such as enrolling an older driver in a safe driving course, gathering information about how to speak with an older driver about safety concerns, and speaking with an older person’s medical doctor about health concerns that can affect driving ability.
When You Have Been Injured In An Accident, Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
When an accident occurs, the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers is here to help. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. You deserve an attorney who has the experience to handle your case competently and obtain the best possible results for you. Our auto accident attorneys have the broad range of experience handling all types of auto accident cases to ensure you receive the most favorable outcome possible. Your attorney will meet with you to discuss the details of your case and explain to you the rights and responsibilities you have under Ohio law. Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation at no cost or obligation to you.