Elderly drivers - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

7.18.03

Elderly drivers

The death toll from yesterday's farmers market automobile crash in Southern California has climbed to ten. A seven-month-old baby has died from injuries suffered when a car plowed through the crowded outdoor market in Santa Monica. The baby boy is the youngest victim of the crash.

An 86-year-old man was behind the wheel of the car. Police are deciding whether to seek charges against him. Authorities say Russell Weller was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. His attorney says it was a tragic accident, and that his client's thoughts are with the victims.

The accident raises again some long-debated questions, when are you too old to drive and should there be age-based restrictions? Seventy-eight-year-old Bill Pohemus of Wilmington says age is not the issue, skill is what counts.

Through the New Hanover County Senior Center, elderly drivers can take a ten-dollar course to fine tune their driving skills. Polhemus is the teacher of the local program called "55 Alive". As for the state law, North Carolina treats all applicants for licenses the same, no matter their age.

Reported by: Heather Higgins

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