Fourteen people were injured in a Los Angeles car accident, which officials say, occurred when 100-year-old Preston Carter backed his car into a group of people who were waiting to cross the street near an elementary school. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the injury crash occurred the afternoon of August 29, 2012 near Main Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles.
Eleven children and three adults were injured. Two of those victims still remain hospitalized, but are said to be in stable condition. Police say it could be weeks before the investigation into this case is complete. The driver, Carter, claimed that the brakes of his Cadillac failed causing him to strike the pedestrians. Investigators are in the process of analyzing data from the man’s vehicle.
My heart goes out to all the injured victims of this car accident. It is indeed fortunate that no one was killed. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 100 fatalities and 2,512 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in the city of Los Angeles. During the same year, 195 people died and 4,535 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents countywide.
Based on this news report, it appears that the elderly man backed into the group of people, a majority of whom where children. Some witnesses who were there and shaken up by the incident say that they thought the man backed into them intentionally. It could be weeks before the investigation in this case is concluded. Carter’s 78-year-old daughter, Ella Fleming, has said that her father will stop driving and plans to give the car to his family. The Times reports that Carter has a current driver’s license and no history of traffic violations.
The Issue of Senior Drivers
This is yet another incident that draws much-needed attention to the number of elderly drivers we have on our roadways and potential dangers posed by these drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), older drivers are more likely than their younger counterparts to be involved in traffic accidents. Also, studies forecast that by the year 2030, one of out five drivers will be 65 or older, which is up from one in eight drivers. This week’s incident reminds us of the tragedy in Santa Monica nine years ago when 86-year-old George Russell Weller lost control of his car and plowed into a crowd in the Farmers Market killing 10 people and injuring dozens of others. It is very fortunate that this week’s incident did not result in fatalities.
There is no question that seniors need to be autonomous and need to be able to maintain their quality of life. As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who has represented car accident victims who have been injured by the actions of elderly drivers, I strongly believe that such autonomy or self-sufficiency should not come at the expense of public safety. Elderly drivers must be required to renew their driver’s licenses more frequently. The DMV should require driving tests and eye exams for senior drivers, which will help determine if they have the necessary skills and physical abilities to continue driving safely.