Near-Octogenarigan Causes Two-Car Crash
A 79-year-old man rear-ended another vehicle, causing a serious automobile crash near McCracken County High School.
The collision occurred near the school’s entrance on U.S. Highway 60 in Paducah. According to investigators, a driver from Morganfield, was eastbound approaching the light when he ran into another car that was stopped in a lane of traffic. The driver and his passenger, were both rushed to a nearby hospital after the automobile crash, suffering from what investigators called “incapacitating injuries.”
The other driver, hailing from Kevil, was apparently not injured.
How Old is Too Old to Drive?
Kentucky law basically presumes that persons under 16 are incapable of operating a motor vehicle except in a few very limited circumstances, and persons between 16 and 18 have only a limited ability to drive safely and avoid automobile crashes. However, once we get to the other end of the age spectrum, there is no such presumption.
That being said, persons over 70 must generally renew their drivers’ licenses at the DMV and submit to a battery of tests, including:
- Vision Test: Once people pass age 60, their eyes require twice as much time to adjust to light changes and need three times more illumination to work properly. Drivers base 90 percent of their decisions on what they see.
- Written Test: Most people get at least two opportunities to pass the written test before their drivers’ license renewal application is denied.
- Road Test: If at least one doctor, lawyer, or first responder, or at least two laypeople, claim that the driver is likely to cause an automobile crash, the applicant must normally take the road test.
Even if the applicant fails, the Transportation Cabinet rarely revokes the person’s driver’s license. Instead, the TC usually grants a restricted drivers’ license, with conditions like no nighttime driving, corrective lenses, additional equipment (like bigger mirrors), or specific locations (e.g. no freeway driving).
Older Drivers and Negligence Cases
If a driver over 70 (or any other age for that matter) causes an automobile crash while not adhering to the restrictions on his or her license, such a failure is not quite negligence per se (negligence as a matter of law), since it technically does not involve a safety law violation. However, for tort purposes, it does raise a strong presumption of negligence with the jury.
There is a lesser presumption for older drivers who have no restrictions on their licenses or complied with the restrictions at the time. To establish negligence, an attorney can ask questions like:
- When was the last time you had your drivers’ license renewed before the automobile crash?
- Did you pass the renewal vision test on the first try?
- When was your last medical exam?
If the jury believes that the driver may have been negligent due to age, intoxication, or whatever, the driver is liable for lost wages and other economic damages. If the victim’s medical bills exceeded $1,000, the victim is probably entitled to additional noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Any aged driver can cause a serious automobile crash at any time. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Glasgow, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.