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When age can put Illinois drivers in danger

There are many residents in Springfield who know someone who may not be a safe driver. Some of these people may be new to driving, but others may have decades of experience behind the wheel. It is those in the latter category that may have the most trouble coming to terms with the fact that they are no longer able to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Elderly drivers may not drive very often or even very far, which is why it can be easy for loved ones to assume that seniors do not pose a significant threat behind the wheel. However, family members may want to consider discussing alternatives to driving if a loved one suffers from declining cognitive functions, impaired eyesight or significant physical limitations. It can be a difficult subject to discuss, but it could ultimately save the driver's life and the lives of other motorists.

For example, an 83-year-old Springfield man was recently involved in a serious accident when he crashed into two different vehicles while driving. According to reports, the man first rear-ended one car before hitting another as he tried to drive away. Luckily, no one was seriously injured in these accidents, but the situation highlights a very real concern with some senior drivers.

When police responded to the scene of the recent accident, they noted that the elderly driver was apparently disoriented and confused when they spoke to him. It is possible that he was impaired by medication or struggles with mental conditions that make it unsafe for him to drive. However, he still had a valid license.

This is why it can be important for loved ones to discuss the possibility of no longer driving with elderly loved ones. It is undoubtedly a sensitive subject, but it can be crucial to have this conversation if someone may no longer be safe behind the wheel. Doing so before an accident can save families the stress, anxiety and expense associated with dealing with a potential lawsuit after a crash. Victims of any car accident have the right to hold an unsafe driver accountable for damages, no matter how old the driver is. Depending on the extent of injuries that may be suffered, the compensation for victims can be substantial. 

Source: The State Journal-Register, "Man crashes into two cars," April 20, 2014

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