Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Crash prompts calls for elderly driver reviews

A man aged in his 80s may lose his driver’s licence after causing chaotic scenes in Sydney’s northwest yesterday as he accelerated and then reversed repeatedly into shops and parked vehicles.

Police say that around midday in Eastwood, the man’s Honda DRV drove into a garbage bin, then reversed onto the road before turning and again mounting the kerb to smash into the Eastwood Seafood Restaurant.

The vehicle then accelerated again, crashing into a taxi parked on the street adjacent to the restaurant.

Thankfully, local fire crews were nearby having lunch and were able to help keep pedestrians safe and help the driver from his wrecked vehicle once it came to a stop.

No-one was injured in the accident but Police say they are investigating the man’s fitness to hold a driver’s licence.

The incident has prompted calls for better assessment of older drivers, as figures show deaths involving those aged over 75 have increased by 5.2% in the past five years – more than double the national average.

Australia-wide figures for the 12 months to February 2019 showed that older drivers account for 12% of all fatalities even though they only make up 6% of licence holders.

Drivers aged 17 to 25 still account for a higher number of road deaths but the fatality rate of Australia’s youngest road users has fallen by almost 14% in the past three years.

Most states in Australia do not have compulsory testing of older drivers. NSW currently has the strictest regulations, with drivers over 75 required to undergo an annual medical assessment, and a practical driving assessment every two years from age 85.

In most other areas of Australia licensing authorities rely on families, doctors or police to notify them about an elderly driver who is deemed unsafe.

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