A 78-year-old man was killed when a car came smashing through the wall of a McDonald’s restaurant in Fairfax, VA. The dead victim, who lived in Fairfax, was sitting at a table in the fast food restaurant at approximately 6:45 a.m. Monday morning when a car, driven by a 69-year-old man, came crashing through the wall and pinned the victim between the table he was sitting at and the wall. The victim’s friend, also in his seventies, was also trapped. He is currently listed in critical condition.
According to police, the driver of the car accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake as he was pulling into a parking space. He was not injured in the crash.
In 2012, there were more than 36 million licensed drivers age 65 years or older in this country. As the baby boomer generation ages – along with the increase in age of life expectancy for both men and women – the number of senior drivers on the roads will across increase. For many of those drivers, the day may come when a decision needs to be made of just how safe it is for them to be behind the wheel of a car.
There are many physical and mental changes that occur in us as we grow older that slow our abilities down to perform certain tasks. That also includes driving. For example, as a person ages, their response time slows down, and this can be deadly if they are driving a car and situations arise that require quick, sharp action.
Other physical changes that occur which can affect the ability to drive include a loss of clarity in a person’s hearing and vision, as well as difficulty in the ability to concentrate and stay focused. As we age, we are not as physically strong or flexible as we are when we are younger. Another consideration for senior drivers to be aware of is whether or not they are taking any kind of medications which could cause drowsiness or other side-effects.
Police are still investigating the fatal crash and have not released any information regarding what may have caused the driver of the car to hit the wrong pedal and drive into the building. There have been no charges filed against the driver at this time.
Whether or not police decide to file any criminal charges against the driver does not absolve him of any possible civil liability he may have for the death of one victim and the severe injuries of the other. Both victims’ families may want to consult with a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to find out just what legal recourse they may have.