Thursday, 3 July 2008

Elderly driver mayhem ... stop them now.

Todays Sydney Daily Telegraph gives a graphic report on an accident caused by an 82 year old driver that I've copied below ...

THE debate on licence tests for elderly drivers reignited yesterday after an 82-year-old woman lost control of her car and ploughed into five pedestrians, including a four-month-old baby.
The renewed calls came as it emerged that the same elderly driver involved in yesterday's dramatic crash on High St, Penrith, was in a similar accident just two weeks ago in the same location. The RTA last year promised to review driving laws governing the elderly after four people died in accidents caused by elderly drivers.
Currently, drivers aged over 85 must take a driving test every two years, while other changes to take effect next year include reducing the annual medical check-up from 80 to 75 to pick up issues such as dementia and deteriorating eyesight earlier.
A scheme of voluntary driver assessment will also be introduced to allow older drivers to get their skills checked through driving training groups such as the NRMA.
But Pedestrian Council of NSW chairman Harold Scruby said the yet-to-be introduced measures did not go far enough.
"A vast majority of crashes occur within a very close proximity to the driver's own home . . . you can either drive or you can't," Mr Scruby said.
A young father carrying his four-month-old son copped the brunt of yesterday's crash after being pinned up against a shopfront window.
The 32-year-old managed to hold his son above his body before a female bystander took the crying infant from his arms and to safety.
The man's parents, who were pushing the empty pram, were also seriously injured and were last night in a critical condition in hospital.
Witnesses said it was the second time in weeks the same driver and car - a white Honda sedan - had been involved in an accident.
In yesterday's crash, police said the car had been travelling east along Union St when it struck a pedestrian island and accelerated left into Woodriff St, before hitting a Mercedes van.
The Honda then crossed an intersection into High St where it struck a Subaru travelling west.
It then careered onto a footpath, hitting two street benches and five pedestrians as well as the shopfront.
A 34-year-old man sustained minor injuries while the four family members were transported to Nepean Hospital.
They included the 32-year-old father with a broken leg, and his parents, a 50-year-old woman with a serious head injury and a 52-year-old male with a head injury and a broken foot.
The driver was also in Nepean Hospital with a suspected fractured spine.
The three adults were scheduled for surgery while the infant, suffering abrasions and a possible spinal injury, was transferred to the Children's Hospital at Westmead for observation.
Witness Lisa Hall, 40, narrowly avoided being another victim.
"They flew up in the air like rag dolls, they flew up like putty," Ms Hall said. "There was blood running out down the street and everyone was screaming for an ambulance.
"All I saw was the empty mangled pram and I was worried about what happened to that baby."
Police will examine CCTV footage of the incident.
Real estate agent Michael Ball said it wasn't the first time the elderly driver had had an accident at the intersection. She swiped one of his staff's vehicles a couple of weeks ago, he said "I recognise her and the car from two weeks ago when she hit one of my staff members cars and took off," he said.
A spokesman for Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal said there had been extensive community input into the new measures governing elderly drivers.

Readers of this blog will know why this report upsets me.

This year on March 28 while crossing a major Sydney road I was hit by a driver who it turns out was born in 1921 - she's 87 years old!!!

OK, OK, the doo gooders of the universe have and will berate me as to why old people shouldn't drive. Well ... check the reflexes of your nearest and dearest, no matter 65 or 95, then judge for yourself as to whether they should be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Don't give me that crap about they deserve their independance. If they're on a restricted licence as most elderly drivers are then what is the point??

Shopping ... that's rubbish in the days of shopping on line, community groups who provide shopping services, major supermarkets where you can phone in your order and have it delivered for $10. Don't tell me $10 is too expensive, compared to the cost of insurance, registration, upkeep of the motor vehicle and petrol, plus the safety of people like me crossing the road ... isn't it worth ten bucks?

Sydney has a super public transport system, with a concession card you're able to travel all day for $2.50 on any government run transport ... isn't that safer than some old darling getting behind the wheel of a car and causing mayhem?

Sorry older drivers but I'm on a mission - my life has changed considerably for the worse because of some 87 year old darling who claims I walked into her car ... what, I went out that day specifically looking for a moving motor vehicle to walk in to? Gimmee a break, I'm a lifetime, careful, pedestrian.

I want to see the laughable laws changed. More frequent testing, more checks on medical backgrounds of these people, once someone has undergone majory surgery a licence check before they get behind the wheel is imperative ... I can think of plenty more reasons.

I don't drive, you don't need to when you live in Sydney ... I don't want to see any more people's lives ruined because of elderly selfishness ... you can't disagree with that surely ... remember Sophie Delezio?


paisley said...

i do believe that the department that over sees the drivers licenses has to do a more thorough screening process of the elderly.. each individual must be tested and reaccessed every year,, as we all know once age comes upon us,, even in its earlier stages things can go from excellent to worse quickly.. why my own eyesight has changed 200 fold in the last two years alone!!!! and i am only 47!!!!

independence is important for all of us,, and who wants to spend the golden years behind bars for vehicular manslaughter??? not i....

paris parfait said...

Oh I absolutely agree with you on this one - I know of a terrible accident in California, where several people were killed because an elderly driver couldn't see well enough and react quickly enough.

Faye Dianne said...

I agree that there should be better screening of our dear elderly folk. My sibblings & I were extreemly surprised to find out that my Dad's licence was valid up to 2010 on a restricted 50ks. He's 85 and hasn't had to do a test yet.... we are hoping that he will have to this year on his birthday. He will be most upset if he losses it but better that then the alternative...

dave1909 said...

I'm with a family right now in South Florida who lost their 16 y/o daughter last week. She was crossing the street on her neon-yellow bicycle when she struck by a 94 y/o driver in an SUV at over 40mph. She died two days later. Witnesses said she was crossing against a red-light but we don't understand how she made it across 2 out of 3 lanes before being hit. Witnesses heard no brakes either. Even if she was crossing against a red surely the law cant allow for people to just run down pedestrians. I was hoping you could tell me of any organizations (preferably American but any would be appreciated). WE are planning on petitioning to the Florida legislature but considering the massive elderly population, I doubt that any politician would vote against the majority of his constituent body. I'm sorry that I cannot provide any more information but we simply don't have any. THe 94 year old was not even drug tested (I assume that most people at that age are taking some kind of strong medication). Would appreciate any help

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