A woman in her 90s crashed her vehicle into the patio of a doughnut shop in Orange earlier today, injuring herself and three others. According to the article in the Orange County Register, the elderly driver was trying to back out of a parking space when the accident occurred. Reportedly, the initial investigation revealed that the woman accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, causing her Cadillac Northstar to accelerate. The accident happened at DK's Donuts located on Chapman Avenue. The three men and the driver were taken to local hospitals, but their conditions were not immediately known.
See the Orange County Register and photographs article HERE.
Elderly drivers can sometimes pose a serious risk when behind the wheel, although it is not the age of the driver alone that is problematic. With age comes certain physical impairments that may increase the risk of an accident. For example, drivers of any age are required to possess certain visual acuity before being issued a license to drive. A driver's poor vision may subject them to a corrective lense restriction on their license. Other age-related restrictions may include the following:
- No freeway driving
- Driving a vehicle with an additional right side mirror
- Driving from sunrise to sunset (no nighttime driving)
- Time of day restriction (for example, not during rush hour traffic)
- Using adequate support to ensure proper driving position
- Area restriction
- Wearing bioptic telescopic lens when driving/restricted to driving from sunrise to sunset
See the California DMV website regarding Senior Driver restrictions HERE.
When the age of a driver contributes to physical limitations that may increase the danger while behind the wheel, the elderly driver's license should be restricted. Unfortunately, the restrictions above do not take into account the diminution in perception-reaction time and hand-eye coordination that generally follow with aging. Simply stated, if a driver (because of their age) has lost the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, the driver's privilege to operate a vehicle should be terminated, for everyone's benefit.
Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a driver's physical impairment should be an important concern for all Californians. When an elderly driver operates their vehicle at in an unsafe manner, they should be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause. An Orange County injury trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling automobile accident cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in an accident with an elderly, impaired driver?
Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.