21 October 2005

Too Old To Drive

There is a reason that the government needs to step in to prevent people whose health is deteriorating from driving, even though "that was the one thing he had, to get in his car and just drive for the sheer enjoyment of driving." The unhappiness, embarassment and great inconvenience that an older person feels when he or she loses his or her license can't be compared to situations like one today where:

A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from dementia fatally struck a pedestrian and drove for three miles with the man's body through his windshield, police said.

Ralph Parker was stopped after he drove through a toll booth on the Sunshine Skyway, Traffic Homicide Investigator Michael Jockers said. The toll taker called police, he said.

Parker was not likely to face charges because he did not appear to know what happened or where he was, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney's Office.

"He may have somewhere in his mind have realized it was a crash, but immediately forgot about it," Jockers said.

Freedom is great, but sometimes it needs to be limited, to protect the rights of others. When the consequences of abuses of freedoms are immediately and irrepairably harmful to someone else, and abuses can be predicted in advance, that governmental intervention needs to take place in advance, before the harm is done, and not afterwards, through compensation or punishment.

A man like 93 year old Ralph Parker does not suffer from dementia so great that he can have a man in his windshield and not know it overnight. Tragedies like this one can be prevented, and it is worth considerable inconvenience to older drivers to prevent this kind of ocurrence.

In other dementia news, drugs used to treat dementia can work, but they increase your risk of death. The classic conflict between quality and quantity of life in this case is quite stark.

No comments: