An 82-year-old driver has been sentenced to serve six months on house arrest after submitting a guilty plea to motor-vehicle homicide in a Newton car accident that took the life of a female scooter driver. The retired Harvard Law School professor also had his driving privileges revoked for life and a three-year sentence of probation, according to ABC 5.
The elderly driver hit a 54-year-old female driving a Vespa brand scooter on Ward Street. Reports indicate that the elderly driver’s vehicle was traveling partially in the wrong lane. The woman on the Vespa was thrown approximately 80 feet upon impact. She was taken to a Boston hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys understand that as we get older, driving may become more difficult. It’s an unfortunate and unavoidable part of life. It is important for us to recognize when our senses are deteriorating and when we’re no longer able to safely operate a motor vehicle. It is also important for us to keep an eye out for these kinds of symptoms in our loved ones to help ensure that they’re not endangering themselves or other motorists on our roadways.
Here are some signs that may help you to determine whether your driving abilities are safe:
-Stiffness or pain in your neck. This can make it difficult for you to look over your shoulder to check for oncoming cars before making a turn or switching lanes in traffic.
-Are other vehicles honking at you regularly?
-The feeling of leg pain. Pain in your leg can make it hard to move your foot to and from the gas and brake pedals.
-Losing strength in your arms. Weakening arm muscles make it difficult to make quick and hard turns effectively.
-Are you getting lost in places that were once familiar to you?
-Significantly slowed reaction time. Delayed reaction can make it difficult for a driver to see oncoming vehicles, whether they’re changing lanes, making turns or heading straight on. This can also make it difficult to judge when vehicles have slowed or stopped completely.
-Overwhelming feeling to traffic signals, road signs and other roadway markings. Often, elderly drivers will have a more difficult time paying attention to multiple activities at once.
-Have you been experiencing frequent “fender benders?”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 40 million residents in the United States over the age of 64 in 2009. These residents made up approximately 13 percent of the entire country’s population.
During the same year, there were nearly 5,300 elderly people killed in motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roadways. Another 187,000 elderly residents were injured in traffic accidents. Although this population makes up only 13 percent of the entire population in the U.S., they accounted for nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities and nearly 10 percent of all traffic accident injuries during the year. There were nearly 100 elderly residents killed in Massachusetts because of motor vehicle accidents in 2009.
A significant number of injuries and fatalities can be prevented if we keep an eye on our elderly loved ones. Elderly residents may not be able to spot any of the symptoms listed above. It is important to keep these factors in mind and to speak with them if you feel they’re putting themselves and other motorists in danger when they’re behind the wheel.
If you or an elderly loved one has experienced a traffic accident in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Car Accident Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.
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