Parents of Two Teens Killed by Elderly Driver Awarded $11 Million
A federal jury in Florida has awarded the parents of two teenagers killed in a car accident with an elderly driver $10 million in damages, bringing their total awarded to $11 million. The teenage girls were killed in a head on collision with an RV driven by a 99-year-old driver from Michigan. According to reports, Walter Roney, 99, was driving the wrong way down a divided highway in Fort Pierce in February 2018 when he crashed into a pickup truck with Britney Poindexter, 17, and Santia Feketa, 18. The girls both died in the accident, and Roney died three days later at the hospital.
Prior to the federal trial, the parents of the girls previously reached a $1 million settlement with Roney’s girlfriend, Carolyn Bruns, 75. The settled lawsuit against Bruns claimed that she was also acting as Roney’s caretaker and could have saved the girls after the accident, but she did not. The total award to both families is $11 million for their loss.
Elderly Drivers and Car Accidents
Florida has more elderly drivers than any other state in the country, with both permanent residents and snow birds getting behind the wheel every year. With age, however, comes a decrease in vision, hearing, reaction time, and other senses required for safe driving. As a result, with age comes an increased risk of getting into and causing a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 a total of 5,894 people died in car accidents caused by elderly drivers nationwide and thousands more were injured. In addition, a national transportation research group found that Florida has the highest frequency of fatal car accidents involving drivers over the age of 65 years old, and these numbers will only get worse with time. By 2030, more than one-quarter of Florida’s population will be elderly.
Florida law requires that drivers over the age of eighty years old must pass a vision test before renewing their driver’s license, but there are no other restrictions on elderly drivers in the state. The NHTSA suggested recommendations to enhance highway safety programs for elderly drivers in 2014, including criteria for licensing and medical review of elderly drivers, medical and law enforcement education, and collaboration with social services to address the transportation needs of elderly adults, but Florida has not adopted these measures. Until something more is done to address the dangers of elderly driving in Florida, critical and fatal car accidents involving elderly drivers will continue to happen at an increasing rate.
Talk to an Accident Lawyer Today
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident with an elderly driver in the West Palm Beach area? If so, you may have a claim for personal injury damages and are owed compensation for your case. Call the office or contact us today at Gary Roberts & Associates to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced West Palm Beach auto and truck accident attorneys today.