100-year-old driver, Preston Carter, failed to stop as he backed his large powder blue Cadillac onto a sidewalk across from an elementary school and hit 11 people, including nine children. Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but were stabilized and everyone is expected to survive.
“My brakes failed. It was out of control,” Carter told KCAL-TV.
Carter was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, but instead of backing into the street, he backed onto the sidewalk, police Capt. George Rodriguez said. The incident happened five miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Carter has a driver’s license and will be 101 years old Sept. 5.
Elderly drivers are involved numerous accidents. I have heard many grisly stories secondhand, as well as reading various news reports. For example, in 2003, an 86-year-old man mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes, plowing through an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 injured.
I personally think a drivers test should be mandatory every 5-10 years. Just because you passed the test once when you were 16 does not mean you are still a capable driver 80 years later. The human body begins to deteriorate at a certain point, and sight is one of the first senses to become dulled, leaving elderly drivers physically unfit and unsafe to be out on the roads.
California’s DMV requires people over age 70 must renew their driver’s license in person, rather than via the Internet or by mail and older drivers may be required to take a supplemental driving test if they fail a vision exam, or if a police officer, a physician, or a family member raises questions about their ability to drive. It is still not mandated, nor is it required in every state.