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N.Y. Driver, 76, Plows into Children's Party

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from Rocky Mountain News ..

An out-of-control car slammed into a building where Orthodox Jewish families were celebrating Hanukkah, injuring 14 people, police said. Police said the injured included seven boys and one girl between the ages of 1 and 8. Four of the injured were hospitalized in serious condition, hospital officials said. The families from the Chabad Orthodox Jewish movement were celebrating Chanukah Wonderland, with events geared for children. About 150 people were in the building. Police said Friday that the 76-year- old driver, who was among the injured but was released after treatment, will not face any charges. Police spokeswoman Patricia Tanksley said investigators believed the crash was an accident but were still investigating.

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How horribly sad.

Florida, is in bad shape with elderly drivers. We've got a couple of patients on our unit, one 91 year old male ran into a building and one 82 year old female ran into a pole. Both have me scratching my head "they have a license" when both obviously don't need to be driving. I almost slapped one's daughter "we just found out she was legally blind a few days ago".......and they let her drive???

It's tough because my dad is 75 and drives here from North Carolina....slowly. I hope we kids know when to take away the keys. Right now he's perfectly fine.

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Definitely sad. I think the problem is that it somehow becomes the family's responsibility to take away the keys when the time comes. I know someone who had a 96 year-old father with macular degeneration who was still driving :eek: Everytime they tried to take the keys, there was a family divide over taking them vs. his independence. Rather than having families deal with this issue (when they clearly cannot in many cases) how about national laws dealing with this so we prevent deaths.

I know that many will bring up the debate about teenager drivers, etc., but maybe drivers license exams (physical and written) be administered every 5 years? Of course, I can think of a lot of 30-40 year olds who shouldn't be driving either.

Just some thoughts.

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What I find disturbing is that most of the time when I read about elderly drivers crashing, it seems to me as if they rarely face charges.

Now, imagine if it was a 25 year old male driving that car. They would be reamed 6 ways from Sunday by the court system.

Maybe prosecutors need to throw the book at a few of these unsafe drivers for once and then publicize it heavily. Even George Weller, the 86 year old that crashed his car into that Farmer's Market in 2003 and killed 10 people, only got 5 years of probation!!

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/3/7/5/p83752_index.html

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We just had a war with my dad over this. Half blind, deaf, tentatively diagnosed with Parkinson's, dementing slowly, somewhat paranoid and delusional.

We bought the car. He was angry that everyone's trying to make him "incompetent." His word.

I love that there are courses for elderly people incapable of driving on their own for their partner in the passenger seat to help keep them on the lookout.

I'm terrified in Boca, Tweety.

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My father-in-law's license was revoked when he was declared legally blind, yet he still had to be convinced to stop driving. Fortunately, he listened to reason.

Here in MA, the state tightens teen driving restrictions anytime an accident happens, yet no one dares suggest restricting, or even re-testing, elderly drivers. I firmly believe that a road test should be required for license renewals, regardless of age.

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What I find disturbing is that most of the time when I read about elderly drivers crashing, it seems to me as if they rarely face charges.

Now, imagine if it was a 25 year old male driving that car. They would be reamed 6 ways from Sunday by the court system.

Maybe prosecutors need to throw the book at a few of these unsafe drivers for once and then publicize it heavily. Even George Weller, the 86 year old that crashed his car into that Farmer's Market in 2003 and killed 10 people, only got 5 years of probation!!

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/3/7/5/p83752_index.html

I remember that one. Do the elderly drivers not face charges because they're united politically (AARP)? Seriously, what politician would even consider proposing a law that imposes serious consequences on elderly drivers? Could you actually see them sending an 86 year-old to life for manslaughter? Sending an elderly person to jail seems unreasonable and cruel but I think if we have an age where driving becomes legal on the low end, how about a legal limit to driving when we get older?

Others things to think about of course would be providing public transportation for people that need it...

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What I find disturbing is that most of the time when I read about elderly drivers crashing, it seems to me as if they rarely face charges.

Now, imagine if it was a 25 year old male driving that car. They would be reamed 6 ways from Sunday by the court system.

Maybe prosecutors need to throw the book at a few of these unsafe drivers for once and then publicize it heavily. Even George Weller, the 86 year old that crashed his car into that Farmer's Market in 2003 and killed 10 people, only got 5 years of probation!!

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/3/7/5/p83752_index.html

Let me offer a different viewpoint on this. Our criminal justice system generally does not penalize accidents unless someone is doing something clearly negligent that causes the accident. Drinking for example. Cases of this type occur regularly, and the underlying scenario is almost always the same. An elderly driver sees some reason to stop, steps on the brake to stop but hits the accelerator instead. The car leaps forward. Feeling certain in their mind that they are stepping on the brake, they push harder. catastrophe results. Happened to a bike shop I worked in years ago - fortunately when we were closed. The car made it all the way to the back of the shop, with about a hundred bikes between the front of the car and the back wall.

but back to my main point: in the absence of obvious negligence, is making an error a crime, even if someone is harmed? I would say not.

Now let's bring it back to nursing: (this is a real event we had at our hospital) You are about to give an IV med to a patient. You carefully calculate dosage rate, but make an error in your math and come up with a rate 10 times what the rate should be. Because it is a double check med and hospital policy requires it, you ask a co-worker to verify your calculation. She doesn't cut corners and look at yours, but does the whole calculation on her own. She makes exactly the same error you make. You give the med to the patient at that rate and harm results. Should you be punished? You have followed correct procedure at every step, but made an arithmetic error. Our hospital management (much to their credit) decided not, but have worked with the nurses involved to help educate other nurses and prevent other similar events in the future.

So summing up, my claim is that an error by itself is not a crime. Now the companion question is: If your driving abilities are deteriorating with age, does continuing to drive anyway rise to the level of negligence that makes an accident a crime? Not as clear there. Perhaps kind of situational. Unfortunately, most Americans live in places where there is little public transit and stopping driving means a loss of mobility. Tends to lead people to kid themselves about their abilities.

A final point that any nurse should recognize: I see patients who are very old and impaired at 70 and others who are youthful and sharp at 90. Age alone is not a good measure of ability to drive.

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As my grandmother aged, she became a terrible driver. Finally, due to her Alzheimer's, she 'forgot' to renew her license. My aunt took her car away (so she wouldn't drive it regardless of having no license). For a long time, she'd always angrily mention how my aunt "Stole! her car". It was pretty sad.

I agree, though, with loriann. What good would it do to anyone to put an 86 year old man in jail? Is he going to "learn his lesson" and become a better driver when he's 91? If the guy intentionally rammed the party, I could understand it, but not simply because he's (probably) mentally incapable of realizing he can no longer drive safely.

I do think we need safety tests for drivers, including vision and reaction times. There really are no good or easy solutions. My grandmother resented having her Independence removed. From being able to go anywhere you want whenever you want, to having to schedule your activities around when someone is willing enough to pick you up and drop you off somewhere (or public transportation that may not be available in their area). This is a life changing event that I'm sure nobody will want to experience.

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Let me offer a different viewpoint on this. Our criminal justice system generally does not penalize accidents unless someone is doing something clearly negligent that causes the accident. Drinking for example. Cases of this type occur regularly, and the underlying scenario is almost always the same. An elderly driver sees some reason to stop, steps on the brake to stop but hits the accelerator instead. The car leaps forward. Feeling certain in their mind that they are stepping on the brake, they push harder. catastrophe results. Happened to a bike shop I worked in years ago - fortunately when we were closed. The car made it all the way to the back of the shop, with about a hundred bikes between the front of the car and the back wall.

but back to my main point: in the absence of obvious negligence, is making an error a crime, even if someone is harmed? I would say not.

You have a good point. Maybe I am a bit biased.

When I was younger, I saved up all my money. I mowed lawns, had a paper route, shoveled snow in the winter. When I turned 16 and got my license, I bought a (really crappy old) car. I drove it to school and back. One day on my way home from school I was coming up to a stoplight and I lost control of the vehicle. I put my right foot on the gas instead of the brake. Beginner's luck, right? (thankfully I wasn't going very fast to begin with so no one was injured and there wasn't much damage). Guess what, I got nailed with misdemeanor reckless driving charge. I didn't intend to get in an accident. It was an accident. I wasn't drinking. I didn't mean to do it. I knew that, the cop knew that, the prosecutor knew that, the judge knew that. No one was injured, but they threw the book at me.

I find it amazing that these elderly people are driving around causing these accidents and getting slaps on the wrist. Sometimes they don't even get that much! "No charges filed" you see it again and again. It is ridiculous. At the very least they should have to undergo some sort of driving test.

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Valid points, all.

Very difficult to make that decision to restrict and/or remove dear old mum's or da's mode of transportation and their feeling of independence. Especially difficult if you or other family members have jobs where you are unable to take your parent here and there.

Much more difficult when most communities do not offer any type of free or minimal-fare type of transportation to citizens that can no longer or should not be allowed to drive because of their slowed reflexes or diminished vision. [the lack of hearing should not play into this at all as there are millions of Deaf/deaf people who are excellent drivers]

I agree that if one wants to continue to have the "right" to drive then we all should be administered an actual driving exam every time we are due to renew our license.

No easy answers....

athena

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the entire driving violations system needs to be overhauled

how many times have you read of people with drunk/impaired suspentions out there driving and killing/hurting innocent people

the anti cop will c/o that they are being abused...there is no answer

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