INJURED CAR ACCIDENT CAUSED BY ELDERLY DRIVER MN ATTORNEY
Our car accident lawyers have represented many people injured because an older driver lost control of their vehicle and caused a crash in Minnesota. As the general population ages, there are more elderly drivers driving on MN roads every year. An older person driving a car can cause a crash for a number of reasons: confusion, reflexes, judgment, sudden health problem, etc. This is an ongoing problem that our car accident attorneys see frequently. If you are injured in a car accident because of an older person driving, call us for a free consultation with a top lawyer. We will help you with the auto insurance issues and make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Here is an article we came across recently that discussed the problem of elderly drivers on the road causing accidents:
Last week an elderly man ran into a bus — twice — then made a turn, running over a bus-stop shelter, injuring six people, two of them critically. Was this 83-year-old man guilty of some crime? My view as a geriatrician was that it was much more likely that the man was impaired. Not by alcohol — he was tested for that. It is more likely that he was impaired by prescription or nonprescription drugs, a neurological disease such as dementia, or a sensory impairment such as vision or hearing loss.
How could this happen? Very easily: Ninety percent of people that age have vision or hearing loss. Thirty-two percent have dementia (mostly Alzheimer’s disease). Most have arthritis and diminished mobility in their legs. All have slow reflexes. Most are taking medications and many of these medications can further impair their judgment and reflexes. That’s why the elderly, after teens, have the highest mortality rate behind the wheel.
CAR CRASH CAUSED BY ELDERLY DRIVER
What’s the answer to this problem? We could take away the driver’s license of everybody over a certain age, say 80. That would be easy, and it would be wrong. I’m a geriatrician. I’ve told many of my patients they have to stop driving. In some cases I’ve done it because their children asked me to, and it was the right thing to do. In other cases I’ve done it because my medical judgment said to me: This person is not safe behind the wheel of a car.
So maybe we can simply deputize our good doctors to identify disabled elderly and remove their driver’s licenses. I promise you that’s a lousy idea. Most doctors would either avoid the issue or soft-pedal their own concerns about safety in favor of preserving their patients’ independence.
Families can help. They can bring it to the doctor’s attention when they see that Mom or Dad’s forgetfulness or loss of hearing or vision, or difficulties walking, may well imply safe driving is no longer possible.
But that’s not the solution either. The solution is for the state of Minnesota to have mandatory written, behind-the-wheel and vision testing for all elderly above a certain age — I would suggest 75. Right now Minnesota only requires that a 90-year-old pass a vision test every four years to keep his or her driver’s license. No different from a 20-year-old. That’s a recipe for death and destruction. Let’s adopt regulations that keep our older drivers safe and the rest of us safe, too.