How old is too old to drive?

October 4, 2011 2:23:43 PM PDT
How old is too old to drive? It's a question that comes up whenever an elderly driver is involved in a serious crash, but experts say there's no easy answer.

The latest accident in North Carolina involved pedestrians who were hit in the parking lot of a Smithfield Wal-Mart Saturday. Investigators say one woman died.

The driver, 95-year-old Benjamin Moye, told police he mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake. Investigators are trying to determine whether Moye was at fault or if an equipment failure was the cause.

No charges have been filed.

Moye has a Virginia driver's license, but the issue of when to take an elderly driver off the road comes up often in North Carolina.

Officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles say there is no age limit for drivers in the Tar Heel state.

"That's decided on an individual basis. Some people can drive for years and years and others need to reconsider that decision," spokesperson Greer Beaty explained.

Beaty explained the DMV leans on families and friends to help get elderly drivers who have lost their skills off the road.

"And there are resources in the community that people can go to to help make those decisions. Family doctors are a great place to start," he said.

AAA says while elderly drivers are most likely to wear their seat belts and not drink and drive they still find themselves at risk.

Experts say relatives should go for a drive with elderly loved ones and observe whether they seem confused behind the wheel. Also check to see whether they are accelerating and braking at the right times and whether they get lost.

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