Hudson Mall crash is a wake-up call for senior drivers
On Monday consumers at the Hudson Mall got a surprise when an 83-year-old man drove his SUV through the front entrance of the mall. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident and the SUV only suffered minor damage. According to police reports, the man was “unsure” about what had happened and witnesses reported that it looked like he didn’t even know where he was at the time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 500 adults over the age of 65 are injured in car accidents every day on average. In 2008, 183,000 older adults were injured and 5,500 had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. We all know that getting older means your eyesight gets a little worse, your reaction time has decreased, and let’s face it, the mind is not what it once was. This can affect your driving ability.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission has different guidelines for senior drivers. It is mandatory for all seniors to take a vision test when renewing their license. In some cases, senior drivers are asked to take a written knowledge test and a driving test, though this is not mandatory. And in some circumstances, senior drivers may receive a restricted license which means they can only driver at certain times of the day, receive additional devices to help them drive, such as another side mirror, or they are prohibited from driving in certain areas, such as the freeway.
Like we were when we first got our licenses, we all value the freedom and independence driving offers us. But we need to understand that there comes a time when are driving skills are not what they use to be. There does come a time when you need to stop driving. When riding in the car with your elderly loved one, if they exhibit any warning signs, such as confusion on how to drive, ignoring traffic signs, or weaving between lanes, it may be time to take away the keys.