A woman in her 90's slams her car into a 7/11 store in Fresno, Wednesday. Police say she was trying to leave the parking lot. But instead of hitting the brakes, she hit the accelerator.
A store employee was trapped in debris and taken to the hospital. It's an incident that's got some people in the valley questioning, when should elderly drivers hang up the car keys?
Jen Doll is with Home Instead Senior Care. She says a senior's ability to drive has nothing to do with age; it's all about health. Doll said, “Each senior is different. Keep in close contact with that senior. Once a year, drive with that senior. Communicate with them and see how they feel about driving. Some feel they don't want to drive anymore but feel they don't have a choice.”
“As we age we begin to, driving abilities may begin to deteriorate and more importantly it's our vision, hearing and cognitive abilities that can impact our ability to drive safely,” said DMV spokesperson, Artemio Armenta.
California requires people over the age of 70 to renew their driver’s license in person every 5 years. Drivers over 70 are also required to take another driving test if they're involved in two or more crashes in one year.
Statistics show older drivers are actually the safest on the road. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, those 35 to 54 years old cause more than 17,000 fatal car accidents every year. Those 55 to 85 years old and older are responsible for more than 11,000 fatal accidents a year.
“A lot of the times we find that seniors, they know they're at that time they shouldn't be driving anymore, but they don't know how to start that conversation so I challenge everyone out there to make that conversation start,” said Doll.