For many people, one of the most difficult aspects of aging is a loss of independence. Elderly Pennsylvania residents who begin to lose their mental and physical dexterity may be told by their children or other family members that it's time to move into assisted living or give up the keys to their car. This can be a very tough discussion for a family, but one that's crucial for ensuring the safety of the elderly family member.
Convincing an elderly driver to stop driving could also prevent harm from coming to other people on the road. As we age, we lose the ability to operate a vehicle as safely as we used to. Not seeing street signs or traffic lights clearly; failing to hear traffic, car horns or emergency vehicles; and being unable to react quickly enough to avoid an accident all constitute serious hazards. Too often these hazards lead to serious injuries or death for other motorists, such as in the case of a fatal motorcycle accident that happened last fall.
An 85-year-old man from Warminster, Pennsylvania, is accused of causing the crash in October. Vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment are offenses some might associate with a younger, perhaps intoxicated driver. But those are the charges the man is facing after the death of a 27-year-old motorcyclist from Huntingdon Valley.
According to police, the man was headed west in the eastbound lane of a Warminster road when he attempted to make a right turn at an intersection. But he drove into the path of a group of motorcyclists. He struck two bikers, one of whom was badly injured and rushed to a hospital. The motorcyclist died a short time later.
It's difficult to say whether the man wasn't paying attention or simply failed to see the bikers, but if he was in the wrong lane before he started the turn, there's a good chance he wasn't fit to drive. The loss of the motorcyclist's life is certain to lead to the loss of the driver's independence. He may also be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit, if the victim's family chooses to file one.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. We normally say this to teenagers with a new license, but it applies just as well to elderly drivers who inadvertently endanger themselves and others.
Source: Warminster Patch, "Elderly Warminster Man Charged in Deadly Motorcycle Accident," Jennifer Mohan, Jan. 4, 2013
- Our firm handles motorcycle accidents and many other personal injury matters. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Harrisburg motorcycle accident page.