Toowoomba lawyer warns against blaming elderly drivers
A TOOWOOMBA lawyer has warned against targeting elderly drivers after the tragic death of a six-year-old girl in a car park accident.
Personal injuries specialist and president of the Downs and South West Queensland Law Association Bill Munro said debate invariably raged when a motor vehicle tragedy involved a senior driver, despite statistics revealing that younger age groups were more likely to be involved in car crashes.
Mr Munro's comments came after the tragic death of a six-year-old girl after an 86-year-old driver reversed into her family on a pedestrian crossing in a Nambour car park.
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However, Mr Munro cautioned against knee-jerk reactions to the rights of elderly drivers to hold a licence.
"From my experience, drivers of vehicles involved in serious accidents occupy all age ranges from teenagers to the very elderly," he said.
"No specific demographic is to be found in the drivers of vehicles in cases in which I have been involved," said Mr Munro who has practised law for more than 40 years.
Mr Munro said all fatalities were heart-breaking, but stressed that each case had to be assessed on its own individual factual basis.
"I am more concerned by the likelihood of young drivers being affected by illicit substances and taking to the road, than I am by elderly drivers,'' he said.
"But the authorities are well entitled to be sure that any driver is competent and safe to be on our roads at any time.
"We have measures in place to identify and to review the right to drive of anyone caught drink-driving, driving with drugs, either illicit or prescribed and of advanced years.
"Although the individual circumstances of the tragedy involving the death of a young, innocent child is terrible, we do not know if the accident was caused solely as a result of the age of the driver and no general response targeting aged drivers should be taken, any more than a general response against any young driver involved in a tragic motoring event should be taken.
"Enforcement of rules regarding the use of the roads by all drivers is the appropriate response and the community should be confident that all drivers on the roads are competent."