Far too many seniors continue to operate motor vehicles even after they develop mental or physical conditions which cause it to be hard for them to drive safely. Seniors experience natural cognitive declines, which can result in impaired judgment and slower reflexes. Seniors could also experience vision problems or physical and mental health issues which make them dangerous menaces behind the wheel.
Seniors and their families have to be aware of car crash risks which can occur when seniors continue to drive their vehicles for longer than it is safe for them to do so.
When seniors don't stop driving after they become incapable of being safe, serious accidents can happen. One recent crash involving an Ohio woman and reported on by WKBN shows the types of mistakes seniors can make, as well as some possible consequences when older motorists make errors behind the wheel.
Ohio Accident Shows Mistakes Made by Senior Drivers
The crash reported on by WKBN involved a 75-year-old woman who was trying to park her car. She unfortunately hit the gas pedal on her vehicle instead of hitting the brake pedal. As a result, her car crashed into the left side of the post office. The woman panicked when her car hit the post office, and she frantically put her car in reverse. This reportedly led to her striking a light pole that was located at the other end of the parking lot.
Although the woman sustained minor injuries, she was fortunate not to have been badly hurt and not to have caused injury to anyone else. Unfortunately, not all senior drivers who get into collisions are so lucky. In fact, while seniors may be the demographic group least likely to be involved in accidents, fatalities related to these accidents remain disproportionately high.
There are sometimes laws passed by states in recognition of the fact seniors can become dangerous behind the wheel if they start to experience declines. For example, in many states, seniors have to renew their driver's license in person or seniors even have to take a road test before they get their driver's license renewed. This isn't the case in Ohio.
In Ohio, seniors are not subject to any special rules. Seniors, like other motorists, must have their license renewed every four years. However, there aren't added restrictions to make sure they can actually still drive safely when they renew.
Since the state won't stop someone from getting a license even if he or she is older and cannot drive safely any more, the onus is on the senior and family members to decide when it makes sense for the senior to stop operating a motor vehicle.