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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.