Elderly Driver Pilots SUV’s Surprising Path Through New Jersey Mall
When a sport utility vehicle drove through the entrance of a mall in Jersey City, New Jersey. The impact of the SUV upon the mall’s glass and metal doors triggered a sound akin to rapid-fire gunshots. The SUV’s boisterously destructive arrival, along with the vehicle’s subsequent march down the mall’s corridor, sent startled shoppers and mall employees scrambling for safety. After the SUV came to a halt, crashing into a wall, its 83-year-old driver emerged unscathed, telling police he “was unsure of what happened.”
The bizarre incident occurred at 5:47 p.m. at the Hudson Mall on Route 440, which was busy with Saturday shoppers. The elderly driver’s vehicle sustained only minor front-end damage and was towed away. Miraculously, no one was injured in the accident.
The motorist was taken to Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health and put under observation for a short time before release. At least one witness who worked at the mall said that the driver “looked like he forgot everything, like maybe he was thinking it’s a road or stop sign there, but he just kept going straight.”
“The good news is that no one was hurt,” said Steven Petrillo, a prominent lawyer in Pennsauken, New Jersey whose law firm specializes in personal injury cases. “The bad, big-picture news is that as our nation’s population ages, there will likely be more frequent, inexplicable accidents involving elderly motorists.”
Statistics show that, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and go up significantly after age 80. An average of 15 motorists age 65 and older are killed, and another 500 injured, every day in U.S. crashes.
Physical changes, as well as declines in vision and cognitive functions including the ability to reason or remember, are not an uncommon part of aging. These changes may affect some older adults’ driving abilities. And as the number of elderly drivers steadily increases — there were 33 million licensed older drivers in 2009, a 23 percent increase from 1999 — the number of elderly drivers involved in accidents could be expected to go up as well.
“The large baby boom generation is now increasingly entering retirement age,” Petrillo said. “One can expect a lot more septuagenarians and octogenarians on the road in the coming years.”Learn more at http://www.petrilloandgoldberg.com/ Petrillo & Goldberg Law 6951 North Park Drive Pennsauken, NJ 08109 1333 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 70 South Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096 Phone: 856-486-4343 Fax: 856:486-7979