Los Angeles senior citizens have driving privileges as long as they demonstrate the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. The California Department of Transportation may place certain restrictions or conditions on a license when a driver's physical or mental abilities decline, but no one has a license revoked only because of age. An older driver also has no special immunity from fault in an accident.
An 86-year-old Sacramento driver made a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way on Highway 160. The elderly man was aware of the mistake, reduced speed and drove close to the center divider. The driver failed to find a way off the road before there was an accident.
A motorcyclist rounded a curve while riding in the fast lane. The biker was struck head-on by the wrong-way driver and was ejected from the Harley Davidson. The 56-year-old motorcycle accident victim died at the crash scene.
The California Highway Patrol spent several hours at the crash site to accumulate evidence. It's unclear whether authorities are considering filing charges against the senior driver. The older man was not hurt in the motorcycle accident.
The state amends driver's license privileges for drivers of any age with visual impairments, diminishing cognitive skills and physical difficulties. Restricted or conditional licenses are issued by driving examiners, depending on the results of vision and driving tests. Sometimes an examiner's decision is influenced by reports from a doctor, family member or police officer about a senior's health-related driving problems.
All drivers with vision problems must wear corrective glasses or lenses. Medical conditions may require some individuals to use special equipment or devices while driving. Conditional licenses can restrict driving on freeways, during rush hours or at nighttime.
Liability is not age defined. A California driver whose negligence causes an injury or death may be charged with a crime and held accountable for damages in civil claims.
Source: Merced Sun-Star, "UPDATE: Motorcyclist killed in wrong-way crash on Highway 160" Bill Lindelof and Cathy Locke, Jun. 20, 201