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Preventing Driveway Tragedies Involving Older Drivers

August 29, 2018

On July 1, 2018, a Utah storyline read “Husband runs over wife, kills her in what police call a terrible accident”. Salt Lake City’s CBS affiliate (KUTV-2) went on to report:

“Investigators said the woman, in her 90’s, got out of the family car to open the garage and her husband hit the car's gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and ran over his wife and then crashed into the home. Police believe the couple just returned from church.” 

Last September in Havertown, Pennsylvania, an 89-year-old man ran over his wife and daughter in the driveway of their home. The incident took place at around 9:30 a.m. when the driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal and proceeded to back into and over his wife and daughter. The man’s 62-year-old daughter was airlifted to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital with head and chest injuries. His wife was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries to her lower torso.  

What do these two tragedies have in common? They both:

  • involved an older driver
  • occurred during the daytime
  • occurred in the family’s very own driveway
  • involved the driver error of pedal misapplication
  • involved family members running over other family members

The purpose of this article is not to be critical of, or Monday-morning-quarterback anyone involved in the above tragedies. Nor is it in any way meant to be an attack on older drivers. We’ve all heard more than enough stories of younger parents backing over their children (or family pet!) in the family’s driveway, illustrating that driveway tragedies are certainly not unique to any one particular age group.

However, as the mission of Keeping Us Safe is to help keep older drivers safe, this article will focus on the more mature driving population.  

Click here for some simple tips and suggestions on how to prevent driveway tragedies from happening to your loved-ones.

For additional information on Keeping Us Safe or the "Beyond Driving with Dignity" program, please click here »

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