A car wreck in Huntsville, AL involving an 82 year old driver raises questions about how states should regulate elderly drivers. A 3 car accident at the intersection of Blue Spring Rd and Winchester Rd was the result of an elderly driver running a red light. According to the Huntsville Times, Eddie Elliott, ran a stop light and struck another vehicle which collided with another vehicle. Sadly, Mr. Elliott died in the wreck and the driver and passenger of another vehicle were injured. The article does not mention what caused this wreck; however, it does raises questions as to how we monitor elderly drivers.
As we get older, our reflexes, flexibility, visual acuity, memory and the ability to focus all decline. Medicines that treat various ailments also make it more difficult to focus and make snap decisions. According to a 2007 USA Today Article by Robert Davis and Anthony DeBarros entitled “Older, dangerous drivers a growing problem” “Twenty-three states require licensed drivers of a certain age to appear periodically at a department of motor vehicles office to renew their license. In 16 states, older drivers must prove that they can see well enough to drive. Some states have tried other ways to identify drivers who, because of age-related health problems, put themselves or others at risk.” While we all want to keep our sense of independence as we get older, it is imperative that we closely monitor our elderly family and friends to make sure they are physically and mentally capable to be safe drivers. There is no question, that states need to come up with an effective and efficient way to monitor the driving capabilities of elderly drivers.
For more information on how to determine if an elderly driver is safe, see the article: “When to Put the Brakes On Elderly Drivers.”