Did you ever stop to think about the ways in which a driver can be impaired? I mean besides the obvious impairment of drinking or drugging, and then driving? I read a very sad news story recently about an elderly driver who ran a stop sign and killed another person. That elderly man has recently had to go before the court on charges of killing another human being.
Did that driver intentionally kill the other person; no, he did not. However, it is alleged that because of his age…his driving skill was impaired. It is said that his reaction time was greatly diminished and he should never have been driving. This man is in his 90’s and will possibly, upon sentencing…be serving time in jail. He didn’t mean to cause the death…but still, someone else’s loved one died.
It is a fine line in knowing when a persons driving is impaired because of age, disability, irresponsibility, or illness. I think about all of the young men and women who have physical or mental disability who see their peers hitting the milestone of turning 16 and getting their driver’s licenses. I know their heart aches to do the same.
It is up to the parents to decide when and if their child is able to drive and make appropriate choices when doing so; whether that child is disabled or not. If they are disabled physically, emotionally, or mentally; and, it will impair their driving skill…it is up to the parents to withhold the priviledge of driving. It is hard to deny them that priviledge but sometimes necessary. It is better to have them dissappointed or angry than to have them dead or causing the death of another person.
The same holds true when it comes to being the adult child of a parent who is past the ability to drive safely. No one really wants to give up their freedom to drive when they have done so throughout their adult years…but, when an elderly person has gotten to the point to where their driving skills are in question…it usually falls to the adult child to have a discussion about giving up the right to drive. Maybe there is a medical condition that causes concern…or a medication that hinders safe driving. Precautions must be taken for everyone’s sake. This is a delicate subject; care must be given to not treat the person as a child. Alternatives have to be considered for how that elderly person is going to come and go in their everyday lives. Think about how they feel…get their input on how to resolve the situation.
That is not an easy conversation to have with an elderly parent. It is not an easy conversation to have with a child who has disabilities. It is not an easy conversation to have with anyone who is impaired by anything that affects the drivers safety or the safety of others on the road…yet, it is a conversation that must take place if you care about that person.
Back to the elderly person in the news who now bears the responsibility of having taken a life with his driving. The picture of that man in the police booking photo would break your heart. It is the picture of a broken man. It is terribly sad to look at that photo and put anyone that you care about in that picture frame. It is sadder yet for the person who lost a loved one to such a situation.
Please take the time to evaluation the decision to allow the people you care about to drive. If your teen wants to drive but makes reckless decisions…wait a while longer until they prove more responsible. They might be angry…but at least they wont be in the position of that elderly man. If your disabled loved one is not ready to drive…don’t let them just because they are of age. It is a burden they might not be ready for. If you know someone who is consummed with road rage…talk to them about not driving. If you know someone who is constantly distracted on the road…they should not be driving. If your aged love one is past the age of safe driving; and, is making mistakes on the road…have that conversation with them in a caring way. Respect them…but, be sure to explain your concerns. Take their feelings into account and think about how you want to be treated in the same situation when the time comes.
It is hard…but, if you know that accidents are happening that shouldn’t; and, you don’t do or say anything to them…and something horrible happens…can you live with the consequences of death or jail time that will affect that person?