For some people, aging is accompanied by a progressive loss of physical and mental capabilities. Sadly, for People who cannot — or will not — relinquish their relative independence as a motorist with a car in the garage and places to go. In Maryland, older men and women every year must give up their driver’s licenses either after relatives urge them to stop driving or the state will not renew their operator’s license due to certain mental or physical impairments.
As Baltimore automobile and trucking accident lawyers, we understand the hard choices that families must make when an aged relative has had one to many minor car accidents, or their ability to remember how to get home suggests a potential for a serious traffic accident down the road. For many people in urban areas such as Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., giving up driving may be easier with mass transit readily available; those in rural areas may have a more difficult transition.
Despite the potential dangers, many older seniors and elderly people continue to drive beyond a time when they can reasonably be expected to operate a vehicle with sufficient safety. It is at this point that they can become a danger to themselves and a potential menace on the road. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we sympathize with the plight of the aged when it comes to driving, but it goes without saying that public safety many times must take precedence over an individual’s desire to keep driving despite loss of ability.
A while back, we were reminded of how easily an elderly driver can get themselves into a possibly life-threatening traffic accident. According to news articles, a car crash in Howard County ended with a woman and her vehicle underwater in a neighborhood pool. Based on police reports, the wreck occurred in the early morning hours on a Saturday in Columbia, MD.
Apparently, a woman in her 70s drove too far through her carport and off an embankment, ending up in a swimming pool some 100 feet from her driveway. Police reports indicate that the crash happened around 1:30am, when the unidentified driver lost control of her vehicle, causing the car to roll down an approximately 35-degree embankment at the rear of her property.
At the time of the news report, police could not immediately determine if the accident was due to simple driver error, a medical emergency or something faulty with the vehicle itself. In many traffic wrecks, accident reconstruction teams typically carry out a post-crash inspection of the accident scene and the victims’ vehicles for signs of problems with critical systems, such as steering and braking components. If a defective part or component is found, it could indicate that there may have been some other contributing factor in a car, truck or motorcycle collision.
In this particular instance, the car and driver ended up in a pool with the woman chest-deep in water. It took rescue crews arriving on the scene a couple hours to free the woman from her car. According to reports, and fortunately for the driver, that pool had not been in use for quite some time — years, in fact — and was only partially filled.
Once EMS crews had freed the driver, who was reportedly disoriented, and then took her to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for medical evaluation and treatment. Police stated that the woman’s family had become concerned when they did not hear from the lady as anticipated, prompting police to visit her home, where they found her stuck in the car, in the pool, but in reportedly fair condition.
Driver rescued after vehicle lands in Columbia pool, BaltimoreSun.com, August 13, 2011