San Jose Police had to reconstruct an accident scene after two people were killed in a car accident. An elderly woman had stepped on her gas pedal, thinking it was the brake. This act resulted in her vehicle crashing through into a nursing home's recreation room. Two residents died from injuries sustained in the collision.
In the event of a crash, investigators and the District Attorney look to determine what factors could have caused the crash. Often factors include whether the driver was intoxicated, distracted, or even had a history of poor driving. But in this particular incident, many are wondering whether age should be considered a factor as well.
When considering driver safety, one DMV instructor noted that age does not necessarily correlate with driving ability. Any driver who begins to experience limited visibility and slower reaction times could be a risk on the road. Many elderly drivers do experience these types of symptoms, simply because they are getting older.
Given this most recent accident, should there be tougher restrictions on elderly drivers? Would that minimize the chances of a car accident? One option is to take away driving privileges if the driver cannot show that they are able to drive safely. Another way to address the issue is on a personal level - some elderly drivers have voluntarily limited their driving to local roads and daytime traveling.
The woman who caused the accident at the nursing home has not been charged at this point. But given the situation, the DMV may not let her drive again unless she can show through a driving test that she can drive safely.
Source: Mercury News online, "Second patient dies after car crashes through San Jose nursing home," John Boudreau, 26 June 2011
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