Elderly Driver Injures Newport News Man
An elderly woman may have mixed up the gas pedal and the brake pedal in Newport News last week, leading to an accident that caused injuries. News reports indicate that the 81-year-old woman slammed into a Firestone auto mechanic at the Hindenwood Shopping Center, injuring a mechanic working on a car. The man suffered life-threatening injuries.
Police have ruled the incident an accident and are not pressing charges against the woman. Her family insists she did not confuse the gas and brake pedals.
Confused drivers who lose control of their vehicles aren’t always given tickets, even when they cause serious damage. But the damage they inflict remains, regardless of their legal status. The mechanic will likely be out of work for an extended period of time while he recovers. He may face serious, long-term health problems because of the accident. And while no one believes the woman caused the accident maliciously, her mistake nearly cost this man his life.
Drivers who have medical emergencies or made errors at the wheel like this have been held liable in the past. She may be required to compensate the mechanic for the medical bills he accrues or for the lost wages he’ll miss out on while recovering.
This incident also highlights the risks associated with elderly drivers. There are no age limits on when a person can no longer drive, but as people age, their sight grows poorer and their mental clarity can dim. That’s why Virginia requires drivers over the age of 75 to reapply for their drivers license in person, after taking the necessary medical tests and passing road tests.
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