It was just a few weeks ago that the Associated Press gladly reported that "today's drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, according to a study released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
That's because vehicles are getting safer and seniors are generally getting healthier, the institute said.
Tell that to the 17 people in Las Vegas who were taken to University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center,
after an 80-year old woman 'apparently lost control' of her Ford F-150 pickup and drove through a crowded Food 4 Less. She turned right before the vehicle came to a stop in the rear of the store.
And remarkably, the AP was right. In this instance, the driver was uninjured.
“It is kind of amazing when you look at the significant property damage that we didn’t have fatalities,” said Ken Romane, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. “There were a lot of things flying, a lot of broken glass, a lot of stuff getting knocked around.” Shoppers and employees sustained a broad range of injuries.
Romane said it’s not uncommon for people to crash into the sides of buildings or drive through the fronts of stores in Las Vegas, but what is uncommon is that the vehicle made it all the way to the back of the store.
Bobby Carranza, a cashier, was hit head-on by the truck, family members said. He was pushed all the way to the back of the store, his legs pinned against a cooler in Aisle 6.
One cashier held back tears. “I’m scared to go to work tomorrow,” she said.
One employee was sporting a large cut on his face that he got dodging the truck. A few employees said it seemed as if the truck accelerated inside the store.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported last week when this occurred that the pickup had little visible damage: a broken taillight, a dent to the rear, and a bent front grill.
Romane said he didn’t know if charges will be filed against the driver. Does any of this sound familiar?
While it's wonderful that elderly drivers are driving less and increasingly surviving their crashes, are we kidding ourselves with statistics that sing and dance?
Do you think your state's legislature is too intimidated by seniors and groups like AARP to take more common-sense action to screen drivers for mental & physical competence?
It took just one senior moment for the nearest hospital to ring up 17 new patients in the ER. Who pays for that?