Reports and criminal charges stemming from a recent motor vehicle accident may cause some Raleigh residents to lose sleep. Those of us with an elderly friend or loved one read about and hear about older drivers’ problems behind the wheel. None of us wants to have that conversation, though, about relinquishing driving privileges and, with them, an important part of living independently.
The crash happened just after 11:00 a.m. on July 5. An 89-year-old man was heading east in his pickup truck on Old Garner Road. A motorcycle, driven by a 33-year-old Garner resident, was traveling west. The truck made a left-hand turn into the path of the Harley Davidson. The biker died at the scene.
The pickup driver has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. A conviction could mean up to 60 days in jail, if the driver had no prior convictions. Had the driver been intoxicated at the time of the crash, the charge could have been increased to a felony.
The circumstances here are similar to another accident in May. In that case, an 81-year-old driver turned into the path of a bicycle, killing the 58-year-old rider. That driver was also charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
As drivers age, their reflexes and reaction times slow. The aging process is not always kind to people’s vision, especially their peripheral vision. Physical ailments can compromise drivers’ abilities as well. Currently, the state of North Carolina has no special requirements for seniors, except that they are not required to parallel park during a road test.
What all of this means is that the burden falls to family and friends to keep older drivers — and the people they share the road with — safe from harm.
Source: News & Observer, “Raleigh driver charged after fatal collision with biker,” Thomasi McDonald, July 11, 2013