In The Headlines

Click here to download the full bi-monthly Network News Update for Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group.

MOBILITY SCOOTER DEATHS:

The latest official figures are still those of 2016 and 14 fatalities. In a two month late summer period no less than six deaths in Central England alone are to be found on the internet, plus notes of two separate coroners writing to the Minister highlighting concerns and trends.

There can be little doubt the rise from one fatality in 2012 to 14 in 2016 will be reflected again with sharp increases for 2017 and 2018. Despite
many calls for improved legislation and training over the last decade no changes are imminent; everything revolves around moral obligation and voluntary initiatives but at huge cost to those involved in incidents.

DEMENTIA and OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS (Diagnosed or Pre Diagnosis):

A recurring feature of our work has been questions from family and friends worried about drivers whose ability is questionable. In many cases they have taken responsible and far reaching steps to try to mitigate untoward events but nagging doubts remain. ‘Still Safe to Drive’ videos and S.E. Driveability are invaluable sources of help to pass on. The following examples illustrate catastrophe when things go horribly wrong.

M40 DEATH CRASH:

Mid October witnessed three fatalities in a crash on the M40 during daylight hours. A Subaru Forester towing a caravan was travelling South in lane three on the Northbound carriageway and had done so for 5 miles. Dash-cam footage revealed numerous vehicles having to take emergency evasive action prior to the head on crash – the 80 year old driver and passenger of the Subaru and the 30 year old in the other vehicle killed. The Subaru was foreign registered.

Clearly wrong to pre judge circumstance but the Subaru was on the wrong carriageway in lane three whereas you might have expected lane one if mistakenly driving on the wrong side of the road, it had travelled five miles against on-coming traffic, the driver, 80 years old, and been involved in another police attended accident in the run up to this accident. The big question again around age related factors, medical episodes and possible early warning factors.

BUS CRASH FATALITIES – DRIVER DEMENTIA:

In the last edition of ‘news update’ we highlighted the case of a then 75 year old bus driver working 70+ hours weeks; he also had an appalling driving record over the previous 3 years prior to the fatal crash and effectively the bus company failed to act and in the judges words put driver shortage ahead of any other factors. The bus company has now been fined £2.3 MILLION, the driver now subject to a medical supervision order imposed since he was/is now unfit to stand trial.

It is likely this case will have major ramifications. Although not diagnosed with dementia at the time of the accident there had been a catalogue of warnings which were not acted on; also a question about the mandatory annual PCV medical. This case highlights with all the warning signs if a referral had been made to the Midland counterparts of S.E. Driveability a tragedy may well have been avoided; acknowledging pre dementia diagnosis indicators and acting with due diligence are paramount.