Girl struck by car has neck fracture
Collision raises questions about whether elderly drivers should be re-tested
Posted: Oct 10, 2012 10:32 AM CT
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2012 7:58 PM CT
A 10-year-old girl is recovering from a neck fracture in a Winnipeg hospital, after she was hit by a car that was driven by an elderly man yesterday.
The girl's mother, who was with her when the collision took place Tuesday afternoon, told CBC News they were walking home after school at the time.
The mother said they were near a parking lot at McPhillips Street and Machray Avenue when a car, initially reversing slowly, suddenly sped backwards.
The shocked mom said she saw her daughter get hit and thrown into the roadway.
According to police, the car went over the curb of the parking lot entrance and struck the girl on the sidewalk. The vehicle kept going until it finally crashed into a tree.
An 86-year-old man was behind the wheel, police said.
Crying out in pain
Bea Ilagin, who witnessed the crash, told CBC News the little girl was crying out in pain.
"I feel so bad for her. Like, I was so worried, I was going to cry," Ilagin said.
"Yeah, I felt bad for the mom, too, she was really crying."
Ilagin said the elderly driver stayed by the girl's side, then remained at the scene to talk to police hours after she was taken to hospital.
The injured girl was first rushed to hospital in critical condition and underwent surgery overnight. Her condition has since been upgraded to stable but guarded.
Her mother said the girl has a fracture in her neck, and family members are very worried about her, but they are happy to see she is recovering.
The collision is under investigation. Police said it is too early to say if charges will be laid.
Re-testing not required for older drivers
Manitoba Public Insurance says there is no mandatory re-testing policy in place for drivers in any age group, including seniors.
In Ontario, drivers who turn 80 years old must pass written and vision tests — and a road test if a driver has demerit points — to ensure they are still fit to drive.
And since 2010, British Columbia has required drivers to go through a driver fitness test every two years once they reach the age of 80.
The B.C. government announced earlier this year that it's making changes to the testing process to make it easier for seniors.
An MPI spokesman said drivers who become involved in collisions in Manitoba, or who are convicted of speeding, would receive warnings before their licences could be suspended.
An estimated 2,000 driving suspensions are handed out every year in the province for medical reasons, but MPI says that number includes any driver with a medical condition, not just older drivers.
A Manitoba government spokesperson said the issue of re-testing drivers is "one of an individual's capacity to drive, not their age."
"It's based upon an individual's capacity to operate a motor vehicle due to potential health issues," the spokesperson said in an email.
"It is not determined by a person's age, but by their ability to operate a vehicle."
MPI notes that young drivers — those between 16 and 24 years of age — make up 14 per cent of licensed drivers in the province, but they account for 21 per cent of fatal collisions.
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