When is it time for grandpa to give up the car keys?
Accidents can happen at any age, but another serious crash involving an 83-year old man in Moline has some calling on stricter screening for older drivers.
Twenty-two-year old Devon Farrier is recovering from serious injuries after being hit by a car while on his bicycle and dragged 100 yards.
“How do you drive 100 yards and not know you have a bicycle underneath the car? That’s a football field,” said Teresa Mahsem of Geneseo.
Mahsem’s husband Phil almost died last year after being hit on his motorcycle by an 86-year old driver who drove in front of him.
“He was on multiple medications. He had a stroke ten years ago, he uses a cane, and he’s still driving,” said Mrs. Mahsem. “I think elderly driving laws need to change. I’m not saying all elderly people can’t drive, but I think there are some that should not be behind the wheel,” she said.
“I’ve called the state’s attorney’s office, The Department of Motor Vehicles, the police, and no one can help,” she said.
It’s a touchy subject, when should seniors hang up their keys?
“I think if you have a problem, you shouldn’t drive. But sometimes I think older drivers are safer than younger one,” said 83-year-old Betty Sells of Moline. She says she is still very proficient behind the wheel.
“I have a couple of friends who have given up driving. One turned 90 and gave it up because she didn’t feel safe doing it,” she said.
Statistics cited by National Public Radio last year say accidents increase after the age of 65, and deadly accidents are more likely after the age of 75.
But the dialogue necessary for families is a difficult one to broach.
“You don’t want to lose your independence,” said Sells.
The Mahsem’s acknowledge the line between infringing on senior’s rights and safety would be tricky, but say stricter testing should be conducted when seniors renew their licenses, particularly those who have been involved in serious crashes.
“I’m worried about him getting in an accident, hurting someone else. I’m lucky – I lived,” Mr. Mahsem said.