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Older New Jersey driver cited; victim adjusts to amputation

The New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission does not suspend a license because a driver’s age is advanced, unless a senior fails a vision or written test. Restrictions, like daytime-only driving, may be placed on any license holder with a medical condition that creates a safe driving risk.

According to American College of Physicians’ internists, senior drivers as a group have no more car accidents than middle-age motorists, until the information is examined in depth. Drivers age 70 and older are nine times likelier than younger adult drivers to be involved in fatal accidents.

Nj.com reported in November the woman who drove a Toyota Camry through the glass front of a Trader Joe’s store in Westwood was 75 years old. The driver lost control and, in the process, trapped a shopper between the car and a cart storage rack.

The 49-year-old victim’s right leg was severed. Despite quick work by people on the scene to stop a massive loss of blood, the Hillsdale ski instructor nearly bled to death before reaching a Hackensack hospital. Fifteen others also were hurt in the crash.

The married mother of three, pinned by the Camry, lost her leg above the knee. The woman admitted, several weeks after the amputation, that she still felt a lot of pain and had trouble adjusting to the missing limb. The victim expressed hope for the future, when movements will include a prostheses and lessons for skiing with a disability.

The driving skills of older motorists are assessed per person, not by age, so New Jersey seniors can maintain independence as long as possible. Sometimes the desire to remain mobile causes an older driver to dismiss diminished abilities. Ignoring a medical problem endangers the driver and others on the road.

Older drivers, just like drivers of any other age, are not immune from liability lawsuits. Seniors may be sued for negligence following injury accidents or fatalities.

Source: CBS New York, “NJ Mom Who Lost Leg When Car Plowed Into Trader Joe’s Store Opens Up About Ordeal” No author given, Dec. 27, 2013

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