In New Jersey, where large numbers of elderly and teen drivers share the road, there’s an ongoing debate as to which group is the least safe. Some say older drivers are more dangerous with their impaired senses and slow reaction time, and others believe it’s the teenage drivers due to poor impulse control and lack of experience.
According to East Windsor Police, a two-car crash at the intersection of Route 571 and 535 on March 20 caused the tragic death of Akhter Shaikh, 82, of Monroe. Shaikh was driving a white Toyota Camry going eastbound on Route 571 (Princeton-Hightstown Road) and was attempting to make a left turn onto Route 535 (Old Trenton Road) when his vehicle collided with an eastbound black Mitsubishi Eclipse at about 7:30 p.m.
Shaikh was rushed to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro by ambulance, and was later pronounced dead. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was driven by Nikhil Dondapti, 18, of Princeton Junction who was also taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pain. Authorities are still investigating the crash; no charges have been filed.
Many senior drivers have been involved in fatal car accidents, the most common causes including poor judgment in making left turns, diminishing ability to maintain control of the vehicle, and decreased reaction to handle dangerous road conditions. Because people age differently, the family members of some elderly drivers are reluctant to take away or limit driving privileges.
Some older drivers remain physically active and sharp even in their 80’s, while others start experiencing dementia even before they reach the age of 70. It has become a great challenge for legislators, family members, and law enforcement to prevent impaired elderly drivers from getting behind the wheel while not taking away the privileges of safe senior drivers.
Teenage drivers are generally becoming more aware of the dangers of aggressive and distracted driving, but there are still many who text and drive, engage in distracting activities while behind the wheel, and speed. Such driving practices can put the lives of other motorists and pedestrians at great risk.
Regardless of a driver’s age, the individual can be held legally liable for resulting injuries in car accidents if they are found negligent. Negligence breaches the legal duty to keep others from foreseeable harm. Drivers of every age are capable of engaging in unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, refusing to yield the right of way, backing out of driveways without looking, drunk driving, failing to stay within designated lanes, making unsafe left turns, hitting the wrong pedal, using handheld devices, and other negligent activities. A personal injury attorney can help people injured in car accidents or their families obtain fair and just compensation for their losses.