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When Should an Elderly Driver Hang up the Keys to Avoid a Car Accident in Boston?

A senior citizen from Taunton was recently involved in a serious single-car accident in Massachusetts. The vehicle flipped as the elderly driver plowed into the Reed and Barton silver company building. She landed right-side up and had to wait for emergency personnel to come and pry her from the vehicle, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.
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The accident happened when the vehicle’s tire popped when she was driving along West Brittania Street. Her car was thrown down a hill about the length of a football field. The vehicle struck a brick wall before coming to a stop. Emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to cut the driver’s side door off to retrieve the elderly driver.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that with age comes an increased risk of being involved in a car accident. Elderly drivers may not be able to react as quickly to dangerous situations on the road as younger drivers can. Residents are urged to keep an eye on their elderly family member’s motor skills to help ensure that they’re safe on our roadways. If you feel that an elderly loved one’s driving ability may be drifting away, you’re urged to talk with them about hanging up their keys — for their safety.

The elderly driver was taken to the Morton Hospital and Medical Center and was later transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Hospital staff has yet to release information regarding the driver’s condition.

Losing the ability to drive safely is a part of life as it comes with age. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to stop driving at a specific age. It just means that we need to keep an eye on our driving skills to be able to determine when it’s best for us to stop. It’s important to remember that giving up the keys doesn’t mean handing over our independence. Elderly residents who stop driving find a need for alternative forms of transportation which oftentimes can come with a number of social and health benefits.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms listed from HelpGuide, you could be at an extremely high risk for being involved in potentially fatal accident:

-Are you having trouble looking over your should for surrounding traffic? This is oftentimes caused by stiffness in the neck or aching joints.

-Pain in your legs is another symptom that can affect your ability to drive. Leg and foot pain can stop you from pressing the right pedals, whether it’s the brake or the gas pedal, when needed.

-Are your arms feeling weak? This pain can make it difficult for your move the steering wheel quick enough to avoid an accident.

-Unfortunately, reaction time slows with age. With a slower reaction time, you’re less likely to able to spot a vehicle entering your path in time to avoid crashing into it.

-Road signs and signals may start to seem overwhelming. Elderly drivers can also become overwhelmed with traffic and pedestrians. Unfortunately for aging seniors, keeping track of multiple tasks can become more and more difficult.

Aging residents are urged to keep an eye on their driving abilities and to understand that there may come a time when you’re better of finding another mode of transportation besides driving. Family members are also asked to keep an eye on the elderly drivers in their life to make sure that they’re not putting themselves in danger on our roadways.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

Convertible crashes into Reed and Barton silver company in Taunton, by Marc Larocque, Taunton Daily Gazette
More Blog Entries:

New Study Urges Metro to Areas Seek Transportation Options to Reduce Risks of Elderly Pedestrian Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 13, 2011

Elderly Drivers Face Heightened Risks for Car Accidents in Massachusetts, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 8, 2011