Five people, including four adults and a 13-year-old girl, were hospitalized with injuries on March 5, 2009 in a Los Angeles County auto versus pedestrian accident, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The accident occurred when a Honda Accord LX struck a cement bus bench at the corner of Bellflower Boulevard and Centralia Street and then crashed into a tree. The impact of the collision projected the bench almost 20 feet.
The teenage girl and a 79-year-old man seated on the bench sustained minor to moderate injuries. Inside the vehicle, the 79-year-old male driver and a 50-year-old female passenger sustained minor injuries and a 78-year-old female passenger sustained moderate injuries. All the injured people were taken to local hospitals. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lakewood Station traffic investigators are looking into what caused this collision.
I'm relieved that this horrific Lakewood car accident did not cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. This accident could have easily been a lot worse. I wish the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
I would be interested to find out what caused this auto accident. Did the elderly driver who was operating the Honda Accord have a medical problem? If he did, did he have a history of medical problems? Was the driver distracted or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs? There is also a possibility that something went seriously wrong with the Accord, which caused the man to lose control of the vehicle.
This incident once again brings our attention to an important issue facing all motorists today – elderly drivers. In the next 20 years, the number of elderly drivers – 70 years and older – is expected to triple in the United States. Research by the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows that around the age of 65, drivers face an increased risk of being involved in an auto accident and after the age of 75, the risk of driver fatality increases sharply. This is because older drivers are more vulnerable to crash-related injury and death. The following behavioral factors in particular are said to contribute to these numbers:
- Decreased ability to change behavior in response to an unexpected or rapidly changing situation – poor reflexes
- Poor judgment in making left-hand turns and
- Drifting within the traffic lane
This Lakewood auto accident and others we see everyday involving senior drivers, reiterates the need for more stringent regulations for senior drivers, especially relating to retesting. Senior drivers must be made to renew their licenses more frequently with driving and vision tests so their ability to follow safety procedures and react to situations can be properly assessed. I can understand that a senior citizen's driving privilege helps preserve their independence. But is it worth risking the lives of others on the road? Is it worth the life of another human being? The errors senior drivers make can sometimes result in losses that are too costly, tragic or irreparable.