Last week, we began a discussion of the potential car accident risks posed by elderly drivers, and whether doctors or any other individuals have a responsibility to take away their patients' driver's license or otherwise inhibit their driving privileges if they feel that the patients may pose a danger to themselves or others on the road.
In 2010, an 85-year-old woman was driving in California with her 90-year-old longtime boyfriend in the front passenger seat. About a mile away from their home, the woman made a wayward left turn directly in front of an oncoming vehicle, which crashed into the woman's car. She suffered a head injury, and her boyfriend had a broken pelvis, lung damage and other injuries. About six weeks later, he passed away.
Last month, nine children and two adults were injured when a 100-year-old man backed his car onto a sidewalk outside of a California elementary school. Although no one suffered life-threatening injuries in the car accident, it has caused a reignition of the ongoing national debate on elderly drivers. Now, some traffic safety advocates are questioning whether older Americans should undergo additional driver's testing and closer monitoring in order to keep their driver's license past retirement age.
As drivers get older, disease, disability, and the natural progression of aging may severely limit their ability to drive. This is not always the case - often, older drivers remain fully capable of operating a motor vehicle competently and safely. But sometimes elderly drivers can pose a serious threat, to themselves and others, of car accidents, injury, and even death.