We often talk about drivers who do things behind the wheel that they know are risky. People text, speed or drive while they are drunk. Many people would consider these behaviors to be quite obviously dangerous.
However, these are not the only kinds of drivers who cause accidents. Seemingly every day, drivers make small mistakes or a seemingly harmless decision while driving that just so happens to end in a crash. In these situations, many victims are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone isn’t directly responsible for the crash.
Recently, for example, an elderly woman caused a catastrophic accident in Florida after the apparently mixed up the brake and gas pedals. Instead of hitting her brake, the woman reportedly pressed the gas pedal and went driving right into the back of another vehicle. The man and his infant child in that vehicle were killed. The mother and another victim were seriously injured.
As horrific as this crash was, people might agree that it is highly unlikely that the elderly driver had any intention of hurting anyone. However, what may come under scrutiny is whether she was fit to drive in the first place.
Being a certain age doesn’t make you a danger behind the wheel. But it is true that as we get older, our physical and mental capabilities can decline. We may suffer from pain that requires powerful medication, vision problems and mental impairments that cause confusion. Each of these situations could make it dangerous for a person to be behind the wheel.
As devastating as accidents like this recent one are, they can serve as a powerful reminder to discuss and examine driving habits and capabilities with elderly loved ones. Of course it can be a difficult and emotional subject, but failing to do so could mean allowing someone to get behind the wheel of a car who could be putting themselves and others in danger.
Source: WFTV, “Infant, father killed in Altamonte Springs crash,” Oct. 16, 2015