In the next several years, there will be an influx of elderly drivers on
the road in Florida and around the country as the baby boomer generation
reaches retirement age. In fact, a federal report indicates that the number
of U.S. drivers over the age of 65 is expected to reach 57 million by
2030, nearly double the number of elderly drivers in 2007.
It is no secret that elderly drivers are more prone to
car accidents than their younger counterparts. Old age brings with it potentially-dangerous
conditions, such as slowed reflexes, confusion and a lack of alertness.
Add in a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or a similar dementia-related ailment
and you have a hazardous situation on Ocala roads.
But many elderly people resist giving up their driver's licenses, viewing
driving as one of their last true freedoms. As such, family members often
hesitate to bring up the topic. So is it the responsibility of doctors
to take their elderly patients' licenses away?
That is the question being asked in a new car accident lawsuit that was
filed against a doctor in connection with a 2010 car accident caused by
his 85-year-old patient. In the suit, the family of a man who was killed
in that crash is claiming that the doctor should have initiated the process
of taking his patient's driver's license away after prescribing
medication to treat her symptoms of dementia. Because he did not do so,
the suit claims, the doctor is responsible for the man's death.
We will continue our discussion of this topic in our next blog post.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "
Doctor sued over fatal crash by patient with dementia," Jessica Garrison and Alan Zarembo, Sept. 7, 2012