An unidentified elderly man crashed his car into the wall of Cost Plus World Market in La Mesa on November 17, 2010. The elderly car driver said that his foot hit the accelerator and the car went in reverse. It appears that the man did not realize that his car was in reverse and was attempting to drive forward. According to witnesses, the elderly car driver crashed into three mailboxes and parts of a concrete wall before his car came to rest against the wall.
The auto accident raises several concerns that are often mentioned about elderly drivers. Even assuming that the elderly driver did not realize his car was in reverse, why didn’t he remove his foot from the accelerator and apply the brake as soon as his car went backward? Why did it take a concrete wall to stop the vehicle? Presumably, if the car did not collide with the wall it would have kept on traveling and could have struck and killed or injured pedestrians or other motorists. Should elderly drivers be tested more frequently? Should elderly drivers be allowed on the road past a certain age? After their motor skills deteriorate to the point when they don’t realize which direction they are going? Or after they cannot apply the brakes quickly? These are legitimate questions but have to be tempered with the desire of elderly drivers to remain independent and be able to commute on their own as needed.
We are very thankful that no other motorist or pedestrian was injured in this La Mesa car accident.