It is something that many people in Lake Charles shudder to think about: an accident outside an elementary school that left nine children and two adults injured. Four of those children were seriously injured, but, luckily, everyone is expected to survive this horrific accident. Who caused this pedestrian crash? A 100-year-old driver.
Lake Charles residents know that there are many elderly drivers in Louisiana and that the state is trying to regulate older drivers. While drivers over 70-years-old are not required to renew their Louisiana driver’s license any more frequently than a younger driver, they must renew their licenses in person. At each in-person interview, an applicant must pass a vision test. Though there is certainly no guarantee that every elderly driver who has passed an in-person renewal is safe, it is more likely that some of the most dangerous elderly drivers would have been removed by this process.
Though older drivers only constitute 9 percent of the driving population, they are responsible for 14 percent of all traffic deaths and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. These kinds of statistics show just how dangerous older drivers can be.
Though Louisiana cannot ban drivers once they get to a certain age, it has worked at creating legislation that is designed to protect other motorists on the road. Until only safe motorists are driving, however, Louisiana drivers will be at risk of serious or fatal car accidents caused by dangerous, elderly drivers. It is extremely important that anyone suspected of having lost his or her ability to drive safely because of age be thoroughly tested before being allowed behind the wheel.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “Driver hits 11: Are elderly drivers making roads unsafe?” Aug. 30, 2012