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31Oct/12Off

Blind Man Tells A Tale About Driving

DWB – or driving while blind – is illegal in the state of California. Interestingly enough, it’s still possible to get a license to drive if you have some visual impairment. Someone needs to tell the DMV that people with serious visual impairments should not drive. If you have a serious visual impairment and you drive a vehicle, you may cause a fatal car accident.

A 72-year-old lawyer from Pacific Palisades was recently issued a driver’s license. The man is legally blind with 94 percent of his vision gone.

English: California Department of Motor Vehicl...

English: California Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters in Sacramento. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was the defense attorney for George Russell Weller, the 86-year-old man who plowed through the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market in 2003, leaving 10 people dead and 68 injured. Russell, who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter but didn’t serve time because of failing health, said he had accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes.

Handling the case made the legally blind lawyer give some thought to whether there should be stricter screening of drivers with health- or age-related problems.

Sometimes age has nothing to do with it. Reckless drivers can be young, old and in between.

The legally blind lawyer gave up driving 15 years ago because of his deteriorating vision. But he kept renewing his license by mail for the sake of having a valid ID. Five years ago, when he got a license renewal form, he noticed a portion that asked if he had any visual impairment that would affect his driving.

The next line asked what that might be and he wrote “retinitis pigmentosa.” That’s a progressive condition in which peripheral vision is lost. He has a narrow tunnel of vision, and can see pretty well within that field. But anything to the right or left, up or down, is lost to him. He was more than a little surprised then to get his license in the mail a couple of weeks later.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a car accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

30Aug/12Off

Are You Too Old To Drive?

Driving is a privilege. The privilege of driving can easily be taken away. There are limits on when you’re legally able to start driving. Should there be limits on when to stop driving?

A 100-year-old man backed his car on to a sidewalk and hit 11 people, including nine children, across from an elementary school in South Los Angeles just after classes had ended Wednesday, authorities said.

English: Homeless man in Los Angeles, CA

English: Homeless man in Los Angeles, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but they were stabilized and were in serious condition at a hospital. Everyone was expected to survive.

The powder blue Cadillac backed slowly into the group of parents and children buying snacks from a sidewalk vendor, and the crowd banged on his windows and screamed for him to stop, but not before some of the children were trapped under the car, witnesses said.

Children’s backpacks, shoes, candy and loose change were strewn about the scene behind a discount grocery store across from Main Street Elementary.

Police identified the driver as Preston Carter and said he was being very cooperative.

Carter talked to television reporters after the crash some five miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. He said he has a driver’s license and will be 101 years old September.

“My brakes failed. It was out of control,” Carter told KCAL-TV.

Asked about hitting the children, Preston said: “You know I’m sorry about that. I wouldn’t do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them.”

Carter was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, but instead of backing into the street, he backed onto the sidewalk.

“I think it was a miscalculation on his part. The gentleman is elderly,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously he is going to have some impairment on his decision making.”

Older drivers have been involved in other tragedies. In 2003, an 86-year-old man mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal of his car instead of the brake and then panicked, plowing into an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 injured.

According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, people over age 70 must renew their driver’s license in person, rather than via the Internet or by mail. Older drivers can also be required to take a supplemental driving test if they fail a vision exam, or if a police officer, a physician, or a family member raises questions about their ability to drive.

Rodriguez said the collision was being investigated as an accident, and Carter was not under arrest. He has a valid driver’s license, Rodriguez said.

If a loved one was the victim of a car accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.