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View Full Version : Horrible incident in Santa Monica. At least 8 reported dead, many more injured.


macfan
Jul 16, 2003, 05:42 PM
Front page, CNN.
HERE. (http://www.cnn.com)

It's less than a block from the Apple Store that just opened down there.

G4scott
Jul 16, 2003, 06:02 PM
This is a tragic accident, and I don't believe this was done on purpose...

It just goes to show that there are some people who should not be behind the wheel of a car. I see people do stupid things all the time, not because their jerks, but because they don't know what they're doing or what's going on... Just the other day, I saw a car almost get totaled by a fire truck, because the guy didn't see or hear the fire truck coming. You have to have been completely death and blind to not see the fire truck...

There are also many distractions that can lead to something like this. Cell phone use, screwing with the radio, etc.

We'll have to wait to see what the police report says about this...

Doctor Q
Jul 16, 2003, 06:32 PM
"This is the single most horrific traffic accident I have ever seen on my time here in Santa Monica." -- SANTA MONICA POLICE CHIEF JAMES BUTTS

The Santa Monica Farmers Market is 1/2 block from the Apple Store Third Street Promenade, the new store that opened in Santa Monica last Friday. The area of this incident/accident is just where 100s of us were waiting in line for the store opening.

By coincidence, I read an editorial this morning by a senior citizen who realized she had been unfit to drive for some time and was just plain lucky that she hadn't been in an accident or hurt anyone before she realized this and gave her car away. She said she's worried about all the other old and dangerous drivers still on the road. This 80+ year old man is certainly one of them.

jadariv
Jul 16, 2003, 08:05 PM
My office is here in Santa Monica. One of the people who works here just came in and he was down there. He said it was horrible.

As for the subject of his age. They have already talked to a number of people that say he was perfectly fine to drive. Completely coherent and sharp. And the blood tests show no alcohol or drugs.

And just for anyone passing judgement on older drivers. Teenagers, statistically, are the most dangerous drivers on the road by a long shot.

evoluzione
Jul 16, 2003, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by jadariv
And just for anyone passing judgement on older drivers. Teenagers, statistically, are the most dangerous drivers on the road by a long shot.

this is shocking, a very saddening tradegy for sure.

and yes i will pass judgement on older drivers, some (if not most), should NOT be on the roads. You just need to be able to react quickly, and the older you get, the less you are able to do this. I've seen more than my fair share of teenage drivers ending up in accidents, sometimes killing themselves so i agree with you and the statistics. still doesn't change the fact that the driving laws need to be enforced more, for real reasons not monetary reasons, and tests need to be a heck of a lot harder, and more frequent. there's some scary drivers on the roads, and not just the cabbies here in nyc. it amazes me how these people got their license. if they didn't, they should face jail time. simple as that. then maybe accidents like this could be avoided a lot more.

Sun Baked
Jul 16, 2003, 09:00 PM
There is always requiring the stupid/dangerous/multi-dui drivers to fill out an organ donor card before they're handed their license back.

And the final restriction -- it's for motorcycles only -- with a free pass to get around those nagging helmet laws.

At least that way there's a chance for them to give something back to society.

Doctor Q
Jul 16, 2003, 10:56 PM
I have an organ donor card but I drive safely. When my time comes, I hope I recognize when I'm no longer a safe driver.

I learned in further news reports that the man is 86 and he thinks he just pushed the wrong pedal (for 3 blocks!?) while trying to stop.

janey
Jul 17, 2003, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by Doctor Q
The Santa Monica Farmers Market is 1/2 block from the Apple Store Third Street Promenade, the new store that opened in Santa Monica last Friday. The area of this incident/accident is just where 100s of us were waiting in line for the store opening.
uh i thought that the line was heading towards 2nd and Arizona, not 4th and Arizona...for the people to have been waiting in a line that slowly made its way to 4th and Arizona would mean that we'd be blocking the intersection...kinda...
nevertheless, this is a tragic story that MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. Dude...that guy was DRIVING at like 60+ mph for THREE blocks over children, adults, chairs, everything....how could he do that and still no be charged for any crime?!
aw god...i go there once in a while...what if i went today :eek:

Doctor Q
Jul 17, 2003, 12:20 AM
He was going south on 4th Street and turned right (west) on Arizona, where the Farmer's Market is. He didn't stop as he passed 3rd street and 2nd street (where the line was). He finally stopped between 2nd Street and Ocean Avenue. His air bag deployed, which may have further confused him or made him unable to get his foot off the accelerator. Last November he passed a written driving test and an eye exam. He's aware of what happened and reportedly says he is very sorry.

macktheknife
Jul 17, 2003, 12:31 AM
Here's the story from LA Times:


Driver Speeds Through Market; 8 Die
By Joel Rubin, Daren Briscoe and Mitchell Landsberg
Times Staff Writers

8:47 PM PDT, July 16, 2003

SANTA MONICA — An 86-year-old man drove his car the length of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market early Wednesday afternoon, apparently hitting freeway speeds as he plowed through a crowd of peak summer shoppers.

At least eight people were killed, one of them a 3-year-old child, as the driver sped for 2 1/2 blocks through a market renowned as one of the region's culinary treasures. In addition to the dead, nearly 50 people were hospitalized, 15 of them with critical injuries.

Police said the driver apparently had lost control of his car.

"His statement is, he possibly hit the gas instead of the brake," said Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. "He said he tried to brake, and he couldn't stop the vehicle."

Tests conducted immediately after the calamity showed that the driver, identified as George Russell Weller of Santa Monica, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Investigators said they did not believe he had suffered any medical problem that might have caused him to lose control of his car.

Witnesses at the market, which attracts as many as 9,000 people every Wednesday, said Weller appeared in a trancelike state as he drove his red Buick LeSabre sedan west along Arizona Avenue between 4th and 2nd streets.

Bodies bounced off his hood; produce stands collapsed; boxes of fruit and vegetables tumbled in his wake. People who weren't hit could only watch in horror.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He was hitting people and they were just flying," said Parker Hall, 35, a salesman who had stopped on 2nd and Arizona to have a look at the market. "You would think it would have slowed him down, but it didn't. When he hit someone, you could hear it, and it was just, `Boom! Boom! Boom!"'

By the time the car came to a halt between 2nd Street and Ocean Avenue, Hall said two or three people were splayed on the hood and windshield. A woman was trapped under the car, prompting bystanders to lift the front of the vehicle and pull her out. The street was strewn with the bodies of other victims, some apparently dead.

The hood of the 11-year-old Buick was mangled and dented. An apple core and two unmatched women's shoes lay atop its roof.

"It was gruesome," Hall said. "There was fruit everywhere, and they were covered with raspberries and other things." He said the crowd pulled the driver out of the car, and he "looked like he was in some kind of numb state. He wasn't freaking out. It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Another witness, Penny Tremper, 64, of San Luis Obispo, was working at a booth that sells jojoba oil when the car sped by. "I saw his face," she said. "He was determined. You could hear the engine roaring. The word that went through my mind was kamikaze. His eyes were wide and his hands were clenched on the wheel."

Police said the incident occurred at 1:47 p.m., just 13 minutes before the market was scheduled to close for the day. Butts said Weller had just left the post office and was heading west on Arizona when he spotted the farmer's market blocking his path. It was at that point that he apparently hit the gas instead of the brakes, Butts said.

Andy Fisher, 40, of Venice, said he saw the car accelerate as it crossed 4th Street. West of 4th, Arizona is closed off every Wednesday and Saturday for the produce market. The Wednesday market has a reputation as one of the best of its kind, and attracts a loyal crowd that includes chefs from many of the best restaurants in the Los Angeles area.

Fisher, who runs a nonprofit organization, Community Food Security Coalition, that promotes farmer's markets on a national level, estimated that the car was going 60 mph, a figure cited by other witnesses.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Spike Helmick estimated that the car hit speeds as high as 80 mph.

Some shoppers said their first thought was that the car was engaging in a terrorist act. Julius Smith, a stock trader who lives in Santa Monica, said his immediate reaction was: "Oh my God, it's happening in Santa Monica!"

The market's manager, Laura Avery, said it had been a fairly typical day, perhaps a bit slower than usual. "I was standing there talking to one of the farmers," she said. "I heard this thing coming. It went right past us and we all ran after it. People were trying to get the license plate. Farmers were yelling `Get that guy, get that guy.'

But when we got there, it was just this old man sitting there in his car with an air bag blown up in his face, looking like he didn't know where he was. Then somebody said, `Oh my God, there's somebody under the car.' So everybody got together to try to move the car. There was this lady there just totally skinned and scraped. I think she was OK."

Neighbors on Weller's well-manicured street on the north side of Santa Monica described him as a kind, religious man with no history of erratic behavior. A former salesman, he and his wife, Harriet, a former teacher, have been married for 64 years, according to an interview the couple gave to National Public Radio several years ago. They are active members of the Brentwood Presbyterian church.

"Mr. Weller is an articulate, bright, concerned individual," said Herb Roney, who lives two doors down. "Of all the people who this could happen to, I can't believe it's him."

The incident seemed likely to add to an existing debate in Sacramento, the state capital, over licensing procedures for older drivers.

Armando Botello, a spokesman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, said Weller passed both written and vision tests for his driver's license in November 2000. Because he showed no signs of eroding skills, he was not asked to take a driving test, Botello said.

After the crash, Weller was taken to Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, where he was examined, evaluated and released to Santa Monica Police, according to Dr. Lawrence Schecter.

Police questioned Weller, then released him. Slightly stooped and using a cane, he walked out of Santa Monica police headquarters with a grandson, another family member and an attorney.

Asked to comment, he looked at reporters and said "no" several times.

Later, attorney Vicky Podberesky said she would be representing Weller as needed along with associate James Bianco. "It appears to be a really tragic accident," Podberesky said. "It's not clear that there'll be any charges filed. It's just an investigation at this point."

Investigators with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office were dispatched to the scene but prosecutors said no further action would be taken unless an arrest was made in the case.

Under California law, vehicular manslaughter is defined as killing someone with a vehicle while committing another crime, or while driving the vehicle in an unlawful manner.

But the deaths might not lead to charges if investigators determine that the crash was caused "by accident and misfortune."

Hospital tallies suggested at least 49 people were hospitalized, including eight airlifted to three public hospitals, UCLA-Harbor Medical Center, County-USC Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.

The eight dead were not immediately identified. Avery said that she did not believe any of the dead or injured were farmers.

eyelikeart
Jul 17, 2003, 06:35 AM
My god...I don't know who I feel worse for...

the guy driving or the victims...

:(

Mr. Anderson
Jul 17, 2003, 07:07 AM
They had a picture of him on CNN.com....its really sad that all those people lost their lives and many more are hurt.

And they're thinking of prosecuting him - which at 86 doesn't seem all that feasible. What do you do for a 86 y.o.?

:(

D

phrancpharmD
Jul 17, 2003, 09:24 AM
What a horrible tragedy! But the fact remains that following 16 to 24 year-olds, those over 65 are mosts likely to cause traffic fatalities. Even though this gentleman "passed" his eye exam and written exam in California three years ago, it is not difficult to conceive the MAJOR medical and psychological changes that can occur in the elderly in ONE year. It's controversial, but ANNUAL evaluation (ie DRIVING TEST) of those over 65 and between 16 and 21 years old should probably be mandatory. Per the US DOT and NHTSA websites:

"People 65 years and older represented 13 percent of the population in 1998 and 18 percent of motor vehicle deaths. By 2030, older drivers are expected to represent 20 percent of the population."


"People age 75 and older have more motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people than other groups except people younger than 25. Per mile driven, drivers 75 years and older have higher rates of fatal motor vehicle crashes than drivers in other age groups except teenagers."

And check out the picture below for the neat inverse bell-shaped curve showing fatal crash involvement by age.

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/fourthlevel/images/graph.gif this

More traffic safety data for elderly drivers can be found here (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/fourthlevel/pro_res_olderdriver_facts.htm) and general traffic safety statistics for 1998 (the most recent year compiled, apparently) are in a PDF on this (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/facts_data/facts_data.htm) page.

MacManDan
Jul 17, 2003, 11:13 AM
Truly a terrible accident! I wonder what will happen to this poor man .. will he be charged or not? It's a double-sided coin .. I'm sure he never would have done such a thing if he had the choice (the article portrays him as a kind man), but the fact of the matter is that he DID do it.. :confused: We will have to see.

phrancpharmD's graph was very interesting. I think that's amazing that someone 2 years younger than me is more than twice as likely to get in a fatal crash .. :eek:

agreenster
Jul 17, 2003, 11:38 AM
What a horrible accident. How sad for the parents who lost their toddlers, and just the mass carnage witnessed and experienced by all. Truly horrible.

But I must agree with those who say it could have been avoided. Where I live, I see the elderly almost cause an accident at least once a week. I always joke with my friends and say its going to be an epidemic someday, with all the baby-boomers approaching 60+, its only a matter of time before this is much more commonplace. Its sad. I only hope I will have the sense to stop driving beofre I kill someone at that age.

Im not sure if this is ethical (and God knows we dont need more laws), but maybe there should be a restriction placed that once a person passes the age of 80, they can no longer drive a vehicle. I mean, people under 16 cant, so why shouldnt a person over 80? Im sure there are people over 80 who can operate a vehicle with no problems, but I also know some 12 year olds who are better drivers than some 16 year olds. (especially those who grew up on farms, whove been driving a tractor for 5 years by the time they are 16)

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough.

Its still sad.

Ugg
Jul 17, 2003, 11:43 AM
The guy shouldn't have been driving anymore. My 94 yo great-uncle had 3 accidents this last year, the first two were minor, the last one totalled his car. Fortunately he wasn't hurt nor did he injure anyone else but he refused to give up his license, the police had to take it away from him. He is an amazingly active guy for 94 and is totally in posession of all his faculties but he's 94 and his reaction time is that of an 8 year old's.

The US is not doing enough to test older drivers. Insurance companies are reluctant to challenge them, politicians refuse to take on AARP, family members know that when licenses are revoked, they, the family will have to start shuttling the them around.

I hope that this tragedy renews discussion on this very serious issue.

Doctor Q
Jul 17, 2003, 12:15 PM
I'd like to see a second line on phrancpharmD's graph, for drivers talking on cell phones. Age (too young or too old), drugs and alcohol, cell phones, and even the weather all lead to increased accident rates.

California has enacted tough driving permit restrictions for young drivers, but yesterday a spokespeople said that giving more frequent driving tests to people over a certain age would be "age discrimination", as if any form of discrimination (meaning differentiating between one thing and another) is automatically wrong. Having laws reflect statistics about how age affects driving ability is no less fair than having life insurance rates reflect statistics about how age affects life expectancy.

MacManDan
Jul 17, 2003, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by Doctor Q
I'd like to see a second line on phrancpharmD's graph, for drivers talking on cell phones. Age (too young or too old), drugs and alcohol, cell phones, and even the weather all lead to increased accident rates.


This is true, but cell phones are actually over-rated in terms of causing accidents. Rubbernecking (looking around at accidents, other cars, etc while driving) is much more dangerous. As are kids in the backseat. Others on the list include changing the radio, and of course, being tired.

Here is only one study that refers to this (http://www.vcu.edu/uns/Releases/2003/march/030703b.html)

I think a better comparison to age would be a % of crashes with the leading cause cited as rubbernecking.

QCassidy352
Jul 17, 2003, 01:45 PM
I just don't see the point in charging him... he's 86 years old, and you're gonna send him to prison?

The whole thing is just a horrible, horrible tragedy, and I have to believe that it was an accident. And if it was... really, what's the point in charging him with anything?

Ugg
Jul 17, 2003, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
I just don't see the point in charging him... he's 86 years old, and you're gonna send him to prison?

The whole thing is just a horrible, horrible tragedy, and I have to believe that it was an accident. And if it was... really, what's the point in charging him with anything?

There are alternatives to prison. Community service comes to mind as does financial restitution. He is old and he deserves some compassion but to let him off solely because of his age just isn't right. He should be charged. 9 people are dead because of his actions. It would also send a much needed message to older drivers.

macktheknife
Jul 17, 2003, 01:58 PM
Remember that the primary reason for teenagers getting into accidents is a lack of experience, while the primary reason for those in the +70 year-old age bracket getting into accidents is deterioration of motor skills. Thus, teenagers will eventually become better drivers with more experience, whereas those in the +70 year-old age bracket can only get worse.

janey
Jul 17, 2003, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by Ugg
There are alternatives to prison. Community service comes to mind as does financial restitution. He is old and he deserves some compassion but to let him off solely because of his age just isn't right. He should be charged. 9 people are dead because of his actions. It would also send a much needed message to older drivers.
i think he deserves to die. dude...he killed NINE people and injured more than FIFTY

no, actually i think he deserves no compassion (and ibookin says torture is the answer)

QCassidy352
Jul 17, 2003, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by übergeek
i think he deserves to die. dude...he killed NINE people and injured more than FIFTY

no, actually i think he deserves no compassion (and ibookin says torture is the answer)

[the following is not a personal attack, but rather a comment about your opinion in this particular case...]

Your position makes me SICK. To know that opinion is actually held by people who seem quite intelligent.... well, to say that it sickens me isn't sufficient.

This was a tragic accident. What good does it do to make it 10 deaths instead of 9? How does that help anything? What happened was horrible, but let's not make it worse.

Vengence is WRONG. This is blood lust, pure and simple. Killing this man would help no one, serve nothing, and show brutality on the part of those who killed him, making them by far worse then him. His crime (unless something shocking comes up) was the result of senility, really bad reflexes, or just plain old panic and confusion. Yours would be one of total barbarism.

Doctor Q
Jul 17, 2003, 02:16 PM
If I was Mr. Weller, I could think of no worse torture than knowing that I had killed people, especially the 3-year-old.

The law is the law. If he merely lost control and was not committing any crime at the time, the law seems to say that he is not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. I read that it is a typical reaction, after pressing the gas while thinking it is the brake, to keep pressing the gas trying to make the car stop.

If he had gone another block, he would have crossed Ocean Avenue and sailed off a cliff.

MacFan25
Jul 17, 2003, 03:51 PM
This really is a sad story. I feel very sorry for everyone involved - even the man who did this.

I think there needs to be better laws or better testing for older drivers. I realize some elderly are good drivers, but many of them aren't, and most probably don't need to be out driving in the first place.

:(

macfan
Jul 17, 2003, 05:05 PM
I think the death toll is now up to nine. Wilshire Blvd was apparently like a war zone with helicopters coming in to medivac the critically hurt.

The solution to the problem of older drivers is not to take away their ability to drive. This might have been the first time there was any indication that he couldn't drive safely. The solution is to develop technology that will make something like this impossible. It can be done, and it should be done. In fact, such technology is making its way into high end cars even now. With time, it will be possible to equip cars so that they can be operated safely by people with dimished motor skills.

Also, I agree it is sick to say that he should be killed. (BTW, there was a mob who gathered and wanted to kill him on the spot, but they were persuaded to leave him alone).

G4scott
Jul 17, 2003, 05:21 PM
Just a couple of hours ago, an elderly woman was killed across the street from my house by a driver who swerved off the road, and onto the lawn of a house.

It is truly a sad thing.

And what's worse, is it doesn't look like the lady driving had touched her breaks until she was almost about to hit the house, where her truck spun around, smashing the elderly lady against the house.

This doesn't happen when you're paying attention, and you drive the speed limit.

Seriously, more people are killed in traffic accidents than have been killed in all of the US's major wars.

Doctor Q
Jul 17, 2003, 06:26 PM
The Red Cross announced there was a blood shortage and asked for more blood donations. I donated blood at a local hospital. I'm Type O so they are especially fond of me. Blood shortages happen a lot in California. People in the "fly-over" states donate more than they use, while Californians use more than they collect, so the Red Cross regularly ships blood west, which adds to the cost. I don't know the reason for this. It would be easy to make unfair generalizations to explain it, but I'm sure there's more to it.

Another debatable issue: Would it be worth the cost to put up real concrete barricades, rather than simple sandwich-board signs, when streets are closed for pedestrian events, to prevent rare but deadly disasters like this one? You can't put an exact dollar amount on human life, but taxpayers are often faced with choices like this and must decide how much prevention is "worth it". My opinion: It's not worth hauling big barriers on trucks each time, but for regular and frequent events it would be worth putting holes in the pavement (a one-time installation cost) into which metal poles could be inserted during each event. I've seen such arrangements in store parking lots, where they close off sections after certain hours. It's enough to stop a car at a medium speed.

rice_web
Jul 17, 2003, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
[the following is not a personal attack, but rather a comment about your opinion in this particular case...]

Your position makes me SICK. To know that opinion is actually held by people who seem quite intelligent.... well, to say that it sickens me isn't sufficient.

This was a tragic accident. What good does it do to make it 10 deaths instead of 9? How does that help anything? What happened was horrible, but let's not make it worse.

Vengence is WRONG. This is blood lust, pure and simple. Killing this man would help no one, serve nothing, and show brutality on the part of those who killed him, making them by far worse then him. His crime (unless something shocking comes up) was the result of senility, really bad reflexes, or just plain old panic and confusion. Yours would be one of total barbarism.

Actually, vengeance is RIGHT. To quote Bill Maher, "violence is always the answer." And he's right, if you're bigger and smarter than everyone else, no one will stand up to you; they'd lose.

With that in mind, people wouldn't kill if they were tortured. It's quite simple, make the punishment hell, and crime will drop like mad. Take away the slap on the wrist for drug use and replace it with hard time, watch drug use plummet. Force inmates into work while imprisoned and watch the crime rate go down. Impose the death penalty for more crimes, and watch the crime rate go down.

It's not necessarily right, in a moral sense, but it'd sure as hell straighten people up.

rice_web
Jul 17, 2003, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by macfan
The solution to the problem of older drivers is not to take away their ability to drive. This might have been the first time there was any indication that he couldn't drive safely. The solution is to develop technology that will make something like this impossible. It can be done, and it should be done. In fact, such technology is making its way into high end cars even now. With time, it will be possible to equip cars so that they can be operated safely by people with dimished motor skills.

Why not test them every few years? Why not test everybody? If you want to make the roads safer, the very least we could do is make a mandatory test every five years for every licensed driver. Don't take the test, license is revoked. Fail the test, license is revoked.

Would it be that much of a mess to be tested every five years?

G4scott
Jul 17, 2003, 07:27 PM
In Texas, older people have to get their license renewed more often, and they have more strict medical and eyesight guidelines.

These provisions may not be enough... With the amount of money spend on video games, why don't they make a driving simulation that tests reaction times that is available at public safety departments?

idkew
Jul 17, 2003, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by rice_web
Take away the slap on the wrist for drug use and replace it with hard time, watch drug use plummet. Force inmates into work while imprisoned and watch the crime rate go down. Impose the death penalty for more crimes, and watch the crime rate go down.

you are really not thinking this through. sending people who smoke pot to jail cost a ton of money? you want to pay for it? not only does it cost something like $30-$40,000 to incarcerate someone a year, it also means that one less person is paying taxes... watch your taxes go up to fix the problem.

also- the death penalty would not stop crimes from occuring. many crimes which would/could be imposed with the death penality are passion crimes in which the perpetrator does not think far enough ahead to see consequences and/or no longer cares what those may be. not to mention, it would once again raise taxes since it costs so much to put someone to death.

idkew
Jul 17, 2003, 08:01 PM
Originally posted by rice_web
Why not test them every few years? Why not test everybody? If you want to make the roads safer, the very least we could do is make a mandatory test every five years for every licensed driver. Don't take the test, license is revoked. Fail the test, license is revoked.

Would it be that much of a mess to be tested every five years?

well, considering it takes 3 hours where i am at to get tested, it would be a huge inconvienence and cost (once again...)

imagine the amount of people in line for testing just increased by 56,000,000 people? fun. who gives these 56,000,000 new tests? would these tests even be effective? what says that a driver could not just drive correctly for the 20 minute test and then leave and drive like an idiot?

rice_web
Jul 17, 2003, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by idkew
well, considering it takes 3 hours where i am at to get tested, it would be a huge inconvienence and cost (once again...)

imagine the amount of people in line for testing just increased by 56,000,000 people? fun. who gives these 56,000,000 new tests? would these tests even be effective? what says that a driver could not just drive correctly for the 20 minute test and then leave and drive like an idiot?

But you run into the same problem today, with teens only driving well for the test. However, it would test for reaction times, etc. and would take those that can't drive off the road (and there are quite a few).

Ugg
Jul 17, 2003, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by rice_web
However, it would test for reaction times, etc. and would take those that can't drive off the road (and there are quite a few).

I think that is a good idea, to test for reaction times. Although, I have to wonder how the average 75 year old would do in a simulation environment. After all, they would have been around 40 when the first vid games came out.....

I don't think there is an easy or inexpensive solution to the problem but it is one that needs to be addressed. By the end of the decade the baby boomers will start to turn 65 and elderly drivers will be much more common than they are now. They are probably a lot less likely to give up driving without a fight because it really was their generation that came to view driving as essential to life in the US.

macfan's suggestion of implementing technology is great but who is going to pay for it and can the average 75 year old afford it? There are more questions than answers at this point but it's not too soon to start the debate.

Doctor Q
Jul 17, 2003, 09:16 PM
They teach airplane pilots to fly in flight simulators because it is safer and more cost effective than using actual planes. Maybe we need driving simulators at each state motor vehicle office. You wait in line, do a 2-minute run in the simulator, get a score, take your eye test, get a score, and get your license renewed if you pass both tests.

QCassidy352
Jul 17, 2003, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by rice_web
Actually, vengeance is RIGHT. To quote Bill Maher, "violence is always the answer." And he's right, if you're bigger and smarter than everyone else, no one will stand up to you; they'd lose.

With that in mind, people wouldn't kill if they were tortured. It's quite simple, make the punishment hell, and crime will drop like mad. Take away the slap on the wrist for drug use and replace it with hard time, watch drug use plummet. Force inmates into work while imprisoned and watch the crime rate go down. Impose the death penalty for more crimes, and watch the crime rate go down.

It's not necessarily right, in a moral sense, but it'd sure as hell straighten people up.

"the law of the mighty is might makes right..." you really want to go with that? The one with the biggest guns makes the rules? You clearly haven't taken this line of thought to its logical conclusion, but I'll leave that for you.

And your assertion about harsher punishments curtailing crime may be true, and it may not. There has NEVER been a study showing that the death penalty deters crime. And idkew is right - many violent crimes occur with no forethought, so no matter what you threaten people with, they will still act out of anger in the heat of the moment.

On the other hand, Singapore has a lot less crime than the US. So you can use that in defense of your argument... BUT, in Singapore, people are scared to death of the government, and you can be publically and brutally beaten for spitting on the sidewalk (remember that american kid a few years ago?). Personally, I would never visit Singapore because I'd be terrified of breaking some law I didn't even know existed and being locked away for 10 years for it.

Yes, people do respond to overwhelming force. Hold a gun to peoples heads and most of them will follow your rules, most of the time. Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany proved that.

But you'll also generate a hell of a lot of hate and guerrilla resistance. You say, "if you're bigger and smarter than everyone else, no one will stand up to you; they'd lose." Sorry, but that's just wrong. History is full of examples of people fighting those bigger and smarter than themselves, and often winning. If push came to shove, the US could nuke the entire middle east to a fine powder -- did that stop the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Overwhelming force will make people scared to stand up to you face to face, but they'll be even more likely to shoot you in the back.

Bill Maher is a talk show host trying to be witty. I wouldn't use him as a basis for my life philosophies.

medea
Jul 17, 2003, 09:52 PM
a drivers liscense is not a right, you are not automatically entitled to one. When you grow older it's a given that certain abilities will deteriorate and because of that when you reach a certain age you should have to be tested to see if you are capable of driving, if you are a fit older man/woman then you have nothing to worry about and you will be able to continue driving, but if you are not fit to drive then you are a danger and a hazard to other drivers and should not be allowed to operate a vehicle any longer. If testing like this were already in place an accident like this might have been avoided.


You know maybe we should see what other countries like France for instance have for rules on the road, I remember in May there was an accident in France involving 28 dead and 46 injuries and it was the WORST road accident in France in 20 years, we beat that every other day here in the U.S.

pseudobrit
Jul 18, 2003, 12:08 AM
I'm usually frustrated as hell whenever I see a Buick being driven, because somehow I end up stuck behind them and they're all piloted by septuagenarians at 15 mph or 20% lower than the speed limit, whichever is greater.

It's morbidly ironic that this one was actually attaining highway speeds.

Doctor Q
Jul 18, 2003, 01:45 AM
Three news updates that I find upsetting:

* A 7-month old boy was the 10th victim. He died this afternoon.

* George Weller had a previous accident. In 1991 he lost control of his car and drove over a retaining wall. It appeared to be the same car. A video played on local news showed his family joking about his bad driving.

* The City of Santa Monica hasn't throught to put a memorial notice of any kind on its Farmers' Market page (http://farmersmarket.santa-monica.org/index.htm).

Good news: It was reported that installation of metal poles is now being considered, to block the area during future farmers' markets. (See my suggestion in an earlier post.)

agreenster
Jul 18, 2003, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by Doctor Q
... drivers, but yesterday a spokespeople said that giving more frequent driving tests to people over a certain age would be "age discrimination...

It isnt age discrimination. If the USA didnt place restrictions on people because of age, 5 year olds would vote and buy cigarettes and alcohol, 13 year olds would be driving, and child pornography would run rampant, just to name a few.

I say if an 80 year old can pass a driving test, they can drive. If not, they should have their liscence taken away.

Doctor Q
Jul 23, 2003, 01:54 PM
Yesterday, the state of California suspended Mr. Weller's driver's license, probably on the recommendation of local authorities. There was no indication that they had given him any driving tests, so it must be based only on the occurrence of this accident. This doesn't seem to match the treatment of other drivers who simply step on the wrong pedal, which is what he claims happened. Of course, other drivers who make this mistake rarely cause so much carnage.

Sun Baked
Jul 26, 2003, 08:23 AM
http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?postid=160464

What's with the oldsters and driving through Farmer's Markets this month?AP - Elderly Driver Loses Control, 6 Injured (http://news.findlaw.com/ap_stories/other/1110/7-25-2003/20030725113006_22.html)

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 79-year-old man apparently lost control of his car and plowed into a northern Florida farmer's market Friday, sending six people to hospitals, law officers said.

The driver blamed the accident on a stuck gas pedal, Fire Chief Jon Macdonald said.

The man was getting ready to leave the weekly market's parking lot when his car rammed three or four other vehicles, then hit the six people near a peaches and strawberry stand, Macdonald said.

Most seriously hurt was a 7-year-old girl whose leg was run over by the car. None of the six had life-threatening injuries, he said. The driver was unhurt and was released.

Doctor Q
Jul 26, 2003, 12:19 PM
Starting next year in Florida, drivers age 79 and above will have to take vision tests every 4 to 6 years, depending on their driving record. Currently, they can go up to 18 years between vision tests!

Doctor Q
Oct 3, 2003, 11:43 PM
News update:

Shamsi Khani, matriarch of a family that immigrated from Iran 50 years ago, was one of the people critically injured in the accident last July. She has 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. She is 88 years old and already had a pacemaker.

When hit during the accident, she was knocked into the air and suffered a broken hip, fractured leg, gashed cheek, severed ear, severed temporal artery, and a broken neck. Because of her age and condition, she did not have a good chance for survival and, even if she survived, was said by a specialist to have a 90% chance of being paralyzed. In the first few days after the accident, she had an operation for the broken neck and surgery for the broken hip and a blood clot. A total of 12 hours of surgery. She had metal plates inserted on both sides of her neck.

The news: She beat the odds. She has been moved out of the main hospital to a convalescent hospital, where she is regaining strength and exercising her legs. And she got to go home for Rosh Hashana dinner a week ago.

Just thought those who read this thread would like the good news.

wdlove
Oct 4, 2003, 12:57 PM
Thank you Doctor Q for the update. That is trully a remarkable recovery. Reading about her injuries all possibities of complications ran through my mind. I gather from your remarks that she is Jewish. The power of prayer can do wonders. Did it say how much longer she will be in rehabilitation?

Doctor Q
Oct 4, 2003, 02:00 PM
No, they didn't say, but it sure sounds like she'll soon be able to stay at home regularly and continue her rehab there or by visiting the convalescent hospital. I know the hospital she's staying at, and it's really a medical halfway house. I'm sure it's hard work and she still has to endure many discomforts, but it sounds like she's doing remarkably fine.

Doctor Q
Dec 10, 2003, 03:34 PM
News update: The preliminary report by the California Highway Patrol eliminates all causes other than human error. They conclude that Mr. Weller might have been impaired by prescription medicine that can cause dizziness or by the limited mobility resulting from his hip replacements. The car had no mechanical problems. Weather was not involved.

Still, nobody has explained why he drove with his eyes wide open, staring straight ahead, hands at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock on the wheel, for 2-1/2 blocks. Or what made him eventually stop. Witnesses even said he streered to avoid parked cards, but not pedestrians.

Some victims want to see him prosecuted. Others don't think that would serve any purpose (he turns 87 January first). Almost all have said they want to see older drivers tested more thoroughly and frequently.

Doctor Q
Jan 6, 2004, 11:29 PM
Today's news: George Weller was charged with 10 felony counts of vehicular manslaughter after a 5-month investigation. If he's found guilty, it will be up to the judge to decide if he is given probation or up to 18 years in state prison (which is longer than his life expectancy). His lawyer now says that the original accident happened from his pushing the wrong pedal, and that he may have had a small stroke, but many of the victims are still saying they want him to apologize and that he hasn't so far.

I expect that Mr. Weller will be found guilty but given only probation due to his age, lack of previous offenses, and that he was a good citizen in the past: library volunteer, church volunteer, and a tutor of high school students. Recently, he has not come out of his house (even having groceries delivered), until today, when he "surrendered to authorities".

Edit: He pleaded not guilty today.

rainman::|:|
Jan 7, 2004, 12:11 AM
Unless the defense comes up with a valid medical argument here, I say keep him in house arrest until he's dead. I don't think it's fair to shove a 90-year old in jail; but I don't think it's fair to let someone that killed 10 people go free just because he's old. And, as people have said since July when it happened, i hope this leads to better licensing restrictions for the elderly.

paul

cubist
Jan 7, 2004, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by eyelikeart
My god...I don't know who I feel worse for...

the guy driving or the victims...

:(

Compensation for victims should be the primary goal of any system of justice. Compassion for perpetrators must be a far less important consideration.

It's true that teenagers cause more accidents than old people - but there are a lot more of them. Drivers over 80 should be rigorously tested every year.

agreenster
Jan 7, 2004, 12:33 PM
I can't believe he hasnt apologized yet, publicly or privately. That's too bad. Maybe he's under the direction of his lawer- apologies imply admission of guilt. Still, regardless of whether or not he is "guilty" he still killed those people.

Elderly driving accidents will reach epidemic proportions when the baby boomers hit 70-80. Not too far away. I'd rather be on the road with a teenager than an 80+ anyday.

rueyeet
Jan 7, 2004, 01:51 PM
Thanks for the updates, Doctor Q. For a bit there I was going to give you the "resurrector of threads" award, but you've truly added new information.

I wholeheartedly agree that the elderly ought to face more stringent license renewals, scream though AARP may. I recognize that taking away an elderly person's car puts a huge dent in their independence, and I would worry very much about my own elderly parents if Dad could no longer drive. But at the same time, I see his reaction time increasing and his reflexes decreasing, and I worry about him driving, too. And I remember my grandfather, and how many accidents he was starting to have before he died. Independence for the elderly can't come at the cost of their lives and others'.

That said, I don't quite believe that driving over two city blocks with people ricocheting off one's hood is entirely explainable by age-related incompetence. I think this guy ought never to be allowed behind the wheel of a car ever again, either way.

fugeelama
Jan 7, 2004, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by agreenster
I'd rather be on the road with a teenager than an 80+ anyday.

Amen to that. Sure, I'm only 22, but I used to live in Central Florida, which anyone who lives there knows is a horrible place to drive in for the simple fact that you've got a high concentration of the two worst groups of drivers: the elderly (65+) and teenagers (16-20). One time I was at a red light and some car was barreling down behind me, only to turn at the last second and slam into a pole 20 feet away from me. It ended up being some really old guy...

Doctor Q
Jan 7, 2004, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by agreenster
I can't believe he hasnt apologized yet, publicly or privately. That's too bad. Maybe he's under the direction of his lawer- apologies imply admission of guilt. Still, regardless of whether or not he is "guilty" he still killed those people.I'm sure there will be civil suits, and that a good lawyer would not want him to say "I was at fault". But he could have called a news conference or contacted the victims as a group and said "I'm sorry that people were killed and injured or had loved ones killed or injured" or "My sympathies to everyone involved" without admitting guilt.

Originally posted by rueyeet
I wholeheartedly agree that the elderly ought to face more stringent license renewals, scream though AARP may. I recognize that taking away an elderly person's car puts a huge dent in their independence, and I would worry very much about my own elderly parents if Dad could no longer drive. But at the same time, I see his reaction time increasing and his reflexes decreasing, and I worry about him driving, too. And I remember my grandfather, and how many accidents he was starting to have before he died. Independence for the elderly can't come at the cost of their lives and others'.Well said. It's too bad when seniors lose any form of independence, because it can increase their solitude, prevent their continued contributions to society, and hasten their decline. On the other side, the younger they are when they learn to use public transporation, the easier it will be to make that transition.

Of course, ask me if I agree with this when it's MY turn, and I'll probably hit you with my walking stick or take out my hearing aid and ignore you!

QCassidy352
Jan 7, 2004, 05:58 PM
I think Paul has it pretty much right; house arrest would be appropriate. Locking him up would be a death sentence - probably within days or weeks. But at this point, I don't think taking away his license is sufficient because a lot of times people with revoked licenses drive anyway, and it's not fair to put the community at that risk.

Doctor Q
Jan 7, 2004, 08:20 PM
The precise charges were "vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence". Manslaughter (a word I've never liked - ick ick ick) is a lesser charge than murder, which would involve intent, but "negligence" implies that he was at fault for operating his car with knowledge that it could likely result in accidents. We all know that we COULD be in an accident when we drive, so this has to do with the DEGREE of danger of which he should have been aware.

Frohickey
Jan 7, 2004, 08:28 PM
Ban cars!!!

Do it for the chill-ren!!!!

Doctor Q
Jan 8, 2004, 01:51 AM
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on hands-on cell phones while driving in the city. Hands-free cell phones would still be permitted. But if they banned cell phones completely in Los Angeles, citizens would have to stay home and never drive, since I'm the only citizen in L.A. who seems to be able to drive without one hand on a cell phone at all times.

agreenster
Jan 8, 2004, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
Locking him up would be a death sentence - probably within days or weeks.

Which brings up a different subject, probably more appropriate for another thread, but the prison system in this country is a mess. People getting beaten and raped in there everyday. Its rediculous. Something needs to change.

Doctor Q
Aug 4, 2004, 05:29 PM
Followup news story in today's Los Angeles Times (italics mine):
The calamity was probably caused by driver George Russell Weller ... the National Transportation Safety Board said at a hearing in Washington.
Is the NTSB living in another dimension??? How could they not know? Whether he was conscious or not, aware or not, confused or not, he drove through the marketplace with his foot on the accelerator, and nothing wrong was found with the car itself. That seems pretty clear to me. Or is their conclusion legally required until Mr. Weller's court case is settled?

The NTSB also said
The existence of a black box, like those used in airplanes, in Weller's Buick could have given investigators a much clearer picture of the accident.
and the NTSB urged that such event data recorders be required in all new cars.

I'm surprised that there is no mention of the tradeoffs in cost vs. the odds that black boxes would improve safety for all of us sufficiently to justify those costs. If anybody should know that you have to weigh the costs and other disadvantages of a safety measure against the marginal safety increase, it's the NTSB. I wonder if serious studies have been made before about putting black boxes in cars. And even if their advice was followed, it would be a long time before they would be found in old cars, like Mr. Weller's. I didn't see the whole report, but my impression is that it's a case of locking the proverbial barn door (and adding 100 padlocks!) after the horse has escaped.

The city of Santa Monica has beefed up the barricades, but hasn't gone as far as some have suggested, putting up the kinds of barricades that are around important office buildings. It's nice to imagine that we can be made safe from freak accidents, but it's not true without barriers that would interfere with the enjoyment of an open air market or that would be very expensive to provide every time any street was closed. This street closure in Santa Monica is a regular temporary closure, and the barricades have to be installed and removed every week, which limits the practical choices. Gee, should we put concrete slabs above the market too, to avoid airplane crashes?

Mr. Weller is still subject to numerous law suits, and so is the city, but I don't think the city needs to go much further in protecting the market area from this type of one-of-a-kind accident. It's sad that it happened, and sad that we can't guarantee that it won't ever happen again, somewhere, sometime.

Sun Baked
Aug 4, 2004, 06:38 PM
The NTSB also said

and the NTSB urged that such event data recorders be required in all new cars.

I'm surprised that there is no mention of the tradeoffs in cost vs. the odds that black boxes would improve safety for all of us sufficiently to justify those costs. If anybody should know that you have to weigh the costs and other disadvantages of a safety measure against the marginal safety increase, it's the NTSB. I wonder if serious studies have been made before about putting black boxes in cars. And even if their advice was followed, it would be a long time before they would be found in old cars, like Mr. Weller's. I didn't see the whole report, but my impression is that it's a case of locking the proverbial barn door (and adding 100 padlocks!) after the horse has escaped.As long as the black boxes are used for designing safer cars and NOT for linchpin-style litigation purposes (ie, big brother) then they should be welcomed by the public.

As far as an automotive area where black boxes lead to rapid safety changes, one only needs to look at the IRL (Indy Racing League.)

They've been running black boxes from the beginning, in fact the first ones were data/impact capture units from the produce shipping companies -- used to record a fruit/vegtables farm to store trip.

Every time there is an accident that results in injury the IRL is able to mock-up the crash in the lab and find out why safety equipment/car designs failed.

Mr. Anderson
Aug 4, 2004, 09:48 PM
Given that most new cars today already have computers in them, I can't see that the cost would be all that much for a black box. And insurance might end up being lower for cars installed with one - they'd benefit from it as well. Who knows...

D

IndyGopher
Aug 5, 2004, 12:10 AM
I think Paul has it pretty much right; house arrest would be appropriate. Locking him up would be a death sentence - probably within days or weeks.

And that would be bad because... ???

I understand the whole thing about intent.. to a point.. but I think once your body count gets to double digits, intent doesn't matter so much anymore. And for those that think his age makes it WORSE that he be punished, get real. You aren't going to change (rehabilitate) an 87 year old, and quite frankly, he can do as much contributing to society from inside a prison as he can from anywhere at this point.

If the guy was 37 instead of 87 we would not be having this discussion. And THAT is the heart of age discrimination... he's being given preferential treatment because of his age, and that is just wrong.

QCassidy352
Aug 5, 2004, 03:03 AM
And that would be bad because... ???

I understand the whole thing about intent.. to a point.. but I think once your body count gets to double digits, intent doesn't matter so much anymore. And for those that think his age makes it WORSE that he be punished, get real. You aren't going to change (rehabilitate) an 87 year old, and quite frankly, he can do as much contributing to society from inside a prison as he can from anywhere at this point.

If the guy was 37 instead of 87 we would not be having this discussion. And THAT is the heart of age discrimination... he's being given preferential treatment because of his age, and that is just wrong.

I disagree with you in every aspect of your post.

Intent is very much the point. If there was no intent, what purpose does killing him serve? It won't dissuade others, because it was unexpected and unintentional. It won't bring anyone back to life. It's nothing but adding to the tragedy by killing one more person.

We WOULD be having this discussion if he were 37, at least I would. The point of the justice system should be to rectify matters as much as possible - not bloodlust. How does destroying additional lives serve any purpose? If some good could come out of punishing him, fine, but I don't see that as the case. House arrest would be sufficient specific deterrence, and further punishment wouldn't act as general deterrence because things like this are unexpected and unintentional. No good comes out of punishing him except some sort of sick sense of revenge - and I'll never accept that as justice.

emw
Aug 5, 2004, 10:06 AM
I'm surprised that there is no mention of the tradeoffs in cost vs. the odds that black boxes would improve safety for all of us sufficiently to justify those costs.

I'm not sure that a black box contributes to safety - I believe they are solely used to identify what happened with the car's systems during some specified period of time, as in airplanes (the boxes don't prevent crashes, they report the circumstances surrounding them).

To provide additional safety they'd either have to be some sort of monitoring/reporting device (not sure I like the Orwellian aspect of that), or they would need to be able to determine if an accident like this was occurring and subsequently apply breaks or cut off the gas.

Doctor Q
Aug 5, 2004, 11:21 AM
I was assuming something less clever, that the black box would simply record parameters such as speed, wheel turns, pedal positions, engine performance, etc. to help investigators after an accident. And that somehow that information would guide the design of future cars. Those would be the safety improvements. I was discounting the importance of this because I can't imagine anything major that car manufacturers could do to prevent a case like this.

With a little A.I., perhaps a black box could indeed recognize problem patterns and issue warnings, but I hadn't assumed so.

emw
Aug 5, 2004, 11:30 AM
Many cars already track most of this stuff (which is where traction control, AMS, Vehicle Stability Control, etc. come from), so I would think recording it would be fairly simple and inexpensive.

Manufacturers such as Saab and Volvo always talk about how they research accident reports in order to make cars safer - anyone know if those vehicles already have something like this?

Not that I want anyone knowing how fast I drive...

neut
Aug 5, 2004, 04:47 PM
what if that was your 3-year old who got hit? i would have killed him as soon as he stopped... i wouldn't want to live after a 'mistake' like that.

how many people need to die before we stop designing our lives so we are easily killed by a stray machine (that we ultimately control)? we don't have to live this way you know... this our choice. war... road rage... rape... car accidents... these are only a minor fraction of the costs of our greed, vein, and pride.

im tired of reading societies headlines. when does it stop?


peace?


how did we ever make it this far?

agreenster
Aug 5, 2004, 06:12 PM
Greed? Vanity? Pride?

Do YOU drive a car?

Look, I'm not saying that this guy doesnt deserve a punishment, and I also know that the victim's families are tremendously hurt by this, but you cant actually believe that this guy deserves the death penalty, do you?

He is a tired old man, with hardly any sense to drive his car. If this is anyones fault, its HIS family or the CA DMV.

Accidents are a tragedy, but they're still just accidents. The thing is, had you killed that man after he stopped the car, YOU'D be serving life in prison, deservedly.

absolut_mac
Aug 5, 2004, 10:54 PM
Followup news story in today's Los Angeles...

I'm not sure exactly what the reason is, but shortly after the accident the LA Times reported that Weller had ploughed into a Mercedes Benz before he took that fateful turn onto Arizona Avenue. In other words, the LA Times implied that he was attempting to speed away from a fender bender. Hence his high speed (estimated at 70ph +) and the fact that it took him so long to stop. In fact he dragged an unfortunate pedestrian under his car for almost the entire two blocks.

I worked in that area for many years - and trust me, when they have that farmers market, there are sooo many pedestrians, that cars in that immediate area rarely get to do 20mph. So when I first heard of the accident, I was flabbergasted at the carnage he caused.

But once I read story in the LA Times about the fender bender shortly before he caused all that carnage, and the fact that the police impounded both Weller's car and the Mercedes, I understood how come Weller was speeding and took so long to stop.

I also recall the LA Times quoting witnesses in that article who had seen the first accident and said that they saw him step on the gas and speed away.

I don't understand how come none of that was reported in the NTSB report.

Maybe someone has a little more info on that.

Doctor Q
Oct 25, 2004, 01:14 AM
We probably shouldn't call it "the wheels of justice" in this case, so let's just say the legal system is gradually dealing with the aftermath of this case. This week the judge will hear statements about whether George Weller should be charged with vehicular manslaughter for causing the deaths in last year's Santa Monica marketplace accident.

neut
Oct 25, 2004, 08:46 AM
Greed? Vanity? Pride?

Do YOU drive a car?

yes. i'd rather not, but i do anyway. it makes my daily life that much easier. im not happy about it, but it's really nice that i don't have to worry about a ride all the time or if it rains or snows or whatever. i have a daughter that lives 40min (driving time) away and it's nice to be able to drive to pick her up. if i had a electric vehicle i would gladly use that. :) If i really had a choice i wouldn't live so far away, but money and my 'girlfriend' tell me different.

of course we all are guilty for our actions. no one else is to blame but us. of course that wouldn't stop me from murdering this man for killing and injurying many people. nor would the thought of a prison sentence (when has that ever stopped someone from commiting a 'crime'?). people like this should not be driving. a lot of people alive shouldn't even be walking around. there used to be a thing called natural selection, but we have found ways to out run that (drugs, government, money, surgery, laws). im just doing my part to keep the earth in balance.

:) i will try not to kill anyone today.


he was attempting to speed away from a fender bender.
anyone want to defend this man now?

agreenster
Oct 25, 2004, 09:37 AM
anyone want to defend this man now?

Nope. Not anymore. That changes everything. Killing innocent people because you're afraid of a little accident is outrageous. This implies that he had his wits and knew what he was doing.

before I gave him the benefit because I thought he was old and clueless. Now it looks more like he was scared and running and careless.

neut
Oct 25, 2004, 09:50 AM
Nope. Not anymore. <snip> before I gave him the benefit because I thought he was old and clueless.

old and clueless people kill people. old and clueless people become scared and careless. scared and careless people make our laws. scared and careless are running our country.

will we become old and clueless; scared and careless?


peace.

rueyeet
Oct 25, 2004, 12:05 PM
Nope. Not anymore. That changes everything. Killing innocent people because you're afraid of a little accident is outrageous. This implies that he had his wits and knew what he was doing.Whatever wits the guy had were apparently not enough to make the simple common-sense argument that it's really stupid to attempt to escape being caught in one crime by committing a far more severe one. I suspect he had enough wits about him to think "oops! dented fender--better make a break for it!" but not enough to remember that the farmer's market was that day on that street, and once he plowed into the unexpected crowd of pedestrians, all his remaining wits may have deserted him.

Whichever, he darn well should stand trial for vehicular manslaughter, and should at the least have his license permanently revoked. I'm not for the death sentence in this case--it's redundant when the defendant's THAT old; but some form of punishment is justified.

As for treating him differently because of age, and having the same discussion over a 37 year old: It isn't a question of age, but of ability. If that hypothetical 37 year old was mildly retarded, say, then I think the discussion would be much the same. In this case, the man's age could be an indicator of senility or other loss of faculties, so it's relevant.

bousozoku
Oct 25, 2004, 01:24 PM
Someone here was recently convicted for fleeing from police and killing someone in their way. The man had a suspended driver's licence--is that a surprise? He wanted leniency. How can you feel sorry for such people?

It's tough to be arrested for bad driving here. He apparently went out of his way to make himself known repeatedly.

Another person was supposedly driving at a high rate of speed (whatever that really is) and drove into a tree backwards, killing her daughter, another girl, and inflicting permanent brain damage on a boy. She doesn't think that she should have to be responsible, either. She was convicted and given two concurrent 15 year terms instead of sequential terms, probably due to the fact that they have real money.

It's sad that people don't claim responsibility to anything they do. Concerning the old man driving in Santa Monica, he should be judged by his inability to make good decisions and punished as strongly as possible, regardless of age.

wdlove
Oct 25, 2004, 01:26 PM
Driving should be on ability not age. My fear is that with the aging of the Baby Boomers, laws will be passed due to age. A blanket change would be wrong.

bousozoku
Oct 25, 2004, 02:31 PM
Driving should be on ability not age. My fear is that with the aging of the Baby Boomers, laws will be passed due to age. A blanket change would be wrong.

You're right but fewer states are testing drivers. I've never even had a written test in Floriduh and on renewal, I didn't have an eye test since I renewed over the internet.

Things should become more strict and fines should include money toward public transportation for those who shouldn't be driving at all.

Doctor Q
Nov 4, 2004, 12:23 AM
This week the judge will hear statements about whether George Weller should be charged with vehicular manslaughter for causing the deaths in last year's Santa Monica marketplace accident.That's what I said October 24. Today the judge made the ruling: Mr. Weller will stand trial for 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter.

wdlove
Nov 4, 2004, 01:29 PM
That's what I said October 24. Today the judge made the ruling: Mr. Weller will stand trial for 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter.

I wish Mr. Weller well with his defense. Wouldn't wish it on anyone to be on the jury that will have to judge this man. :(

Doctor Q
Nov 4, 2004, 02:37 PM
The lawyer arguing his case said that it was simply a matter of "pedal error" - pushing the wrong pedal and not realizing what was wrong.

The opposing lawyer countered that even pedal error is a case of negligence, and that Mr. Weller was aware of what he was doing because he steered to avoid parked cars while driving through the crowds at freeway speed.

Doctor Q
Nov 4, 2004, 03:53 PM
Ironically, Mr. Weller's life was saved by somebody he killed, because the friction of the body under the car stopped his forward motion. If he had gone another two blocks, he would have crossed Palisades Park, broken through the fence over the cliffs, and ended up down on Pacific Coast Highway at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Cliffs:

http://www.darkstudios.com/c2c/crump.gif

Looking down to Pacific Coast Highway:

http://www.spies.com/~gus/ran/0104/sm_cliff_bus.jpg

Approaching Palisades Park the direction Mr. Weller was going:

obeygiant
Nov 4, 2004, 05:51 PM
does anyone have that picture from a helicopter of his car after the accident?
The one where there is a pickle and a shoe on top of a dented in hood.

Doctor Q
Sep 9, 2006, 01:35 PM
It's taken this long, but the jury trial of George Weller has finally begun this month. He's charged with 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter and faces possible prison time if convicted, as a result of this 2003 incident.

Mr. Weller is 83 years old. Statistics show that drivers over 70 are five times more likely to experience "pedal error", which is what the Highway Patrol concluded caused this accident. However, the jury may instead find that he was reckless or negligent. By the way, the currently oldest inmate in California is 93.

Two witnesses are going to testify that Mr. Weller said "If you saw me coming, you should have gotten out of my way." after his car finally stopped, but most of the victims say they think it was a tragic accident, not a crime.

In a separate case, an 85-year-old man hit the wrong pedal and injured 10 people in El Monte, California, earlier this year. He was not charged.

Kingsly
Sep 9, 2006, 03:00 PM
I cant believe their charging him at all. Can they prove criminal intent?

Doctor Q
Sep 9, 2006, 03:08 PM
They may not be able to "prove" it, but they might be able to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Much of the evidence will be based on his statements to people at the scene and to the police immediately afterward. He has refused to testify in the trial.

Thomas Veil
Sep 9, 2006, 03:33 PM
Actually, vengeance is RIGHT....people wouldn't kill if they were tortured. It's quite simple, make the punishment hell, and crime will drop like mad.How perfectly primitive.

I understand the Taliban work under such premises.

I think I'll just trust the current system to work this out.

PalmHarborTchr
Sep 14, 2006, 11:44 AM
I live in Florida. There are many old folks driving who should NOT be driving but Jeb Bush is afraid to stop them because he wants them all to continue to vote for Republicans at the poles.
However...most of the old folks here drive big Buicks..they just love the Buicks and when I see one I avoid it like crazy, passing
it quickly.
I think the old folks should have special license plates that ID
them like a big SR. on a decal that must be on the back window.

Doctor Q
Sep 16, 2006, 12:25 PM
By an eerie and sad coincidence, the oldest victim to survive the incident died yesterday, just as the trial begins.

Felldownthewell
Sep 16, 2006, 01:28 PM
I cant believe their charging him at all. Can they prove criminal intent?


He killed 10 people including a small child. He should be prosecuted whether he meant to do it or not.

yg17
Sep 16, 2006, 01:32 PM
He should definitely be prosecuted. If it was a younger person who did this, they'd get prosecuted. He shouldn't get off because he's old.

damienvfx
Sep 16, 2006, 01:48 PM
Because of him, 10 people are dead. He should spend the rest of his life in jail.

bousozoku
Sep 16, 2006, 02:32 PM
He should definitely be prosecuted. If it was a younger person who did this, they'd get prosecuted. He shouldn't get off because he's old.

There was an incident the other day in Brevard County, Floriduh where some 83 year old man was driving in the dark to his dialysis treatment and hit "something" along the road but he kept driving. Later, he caused a chain reaction accident involving 10 cars.

He apparently turned himself over to police after his treatment. The police said that if he had not left the scene of the dead man in the first incident, he would not have been charged. Can you believe it?

Felldownthewell
Sep 16, 2006, 03:23 PM
There was an incident the other day in Brevard County, Floriduh where some 83 year old man was driving in the dark to his dialysis treatment and hit "something" along the road but he kept driving. Later, he caused a chain reaction accident involving 10 cars.

He apparently turned himself over to police after his treatment. The police said that if he had not left the scene of the dead man in the first incident, he would not have been charged. Can you believe it?


My grandma just turned 80. the other day I was driving with her to go get gas. As we pulled up to an intersection, she pulled into the left hand turn lane with its own dedicated left turn signal, and started to pull through the red light. I yelled at her that it was red, she stopped, and then proceded to laugh it off as "oh, you new, back seat drivers" (I have been driving for over a year without a ticket or accident). She is mentally clear and a wonderful person, but I now insists that I drive whenever we go somewhere because I do not trust her.

I think that periodically throughout life, drivers should have to be re-tested- not just the written test but an actual drive test. Obviously, some 90 year olds will still be great drivers while some 50 year olds will be a danger to others. This should be law not just because of age slowly wearing down reaction time, but because the driving laws change constantly, and a refresher course ever 30 years or so would hurt nobody and save countless lives.

bousozoku
Sep 16, 2006, 07:01 PM
My grandma just turned 80. the other day I was driving with her to go get gas. As we pulled up to an intersection, she pulled into the left hand turn lane with its own dedicated left turn signal, and started to pull through the red light. I yelled at her that it was red, she stopped, and then proceded to laugh it off as "oh, you new, back seat drivers" (I have been driving for over a year without a ticket or accident). She is mentally clear and a wonderful person, but I now insists that I drive whenever we go somewhere because I do not trust her.

I think that periodically throughout life, drivers should have to be re-tested- not just the written test but an actual drive test. Obviously, some 90 year olds will still be great drivers while some 50 year olds will be a danger to others. This should be law not just because of age slowly wearing down reaction time, but because the driving laws change constantly, and a refresher course ever 30 years or so would hurt nobody and save countless lives.

Older people tend to be scary. My adoptive dad has pulled some really weird and wild stunts.

I'm to the point where I feel everyone should be tested frequently. My last renewal in Floriduh was over the internet. They didn't even require an eye test. My last written test was when I moved to Pennsylvania in 1988 and I've never had a driving skills test because I aced my Driver's Education class.

Still, drivers are pretty bad all around the country and I've driven through a lot of states in the past two years. If police were more aggressive on the things that count, would there be as much of a problem? People drive through red lights, avoid using turn signals, turn from the wrong lane, etc. I'm not even concerned about speeding. Speeding by itself doesn't kill, lack of expertise does.

What will it take? How many people have to die?

Ugg
Sep 16, 2006, 07:07 PM
Older people tend to be scary. My adoptive dad has pulled some really weird and wild stunts.

What will it take? How many people have to die?

My Dad just turned 73. His driving was never the best, but it's gotten a lot worse in the last few years. He totally disregards the traffic conditions around him and one minute will be doing 35 the next, 75. We've tried to tell him but....

skunk
Sep 16, 2006, 07:08 PM
I think that periodically throughout life, drivers should have to be re-tested- not just the written test but an actual drive test. Obviously, some 90 year olds will still be great drivers while some 50 year olds will be a danger to others. This should be law not just because of age slowly wearing down reaction time, but because the driving laws change constantly, and a refresher course ever 30 years or so would hurt nobody and save countless lives.You'll feel differently when you're 50... ;)

Frogurt
Sep 17, 2006, 01:48 AM
This guy should go to prison, not house arrest, not probation, not just compensating victims, prison. A bunch of people talk about "what is the point of sending an old man who is about to die anyway to prison?" What is the point of sending a young man to prison? Think about it, the old man's life is basically over, nothing significant left to contribute to society. But the young man will have children and years left that he can contribute instead of wasting away in prison. I'm not advocating letting everyone young out of jail, just pointing out that the rationale for letting old people off is silly. The point of prison should be to keep dangerous people away from the public and to rehabilitate criminals. This guy is obviously dangerous to other people.

bousozoku
Sep 17, 2006, 02:04 AM
My Dad just turned 73. His driving was never the best, but it's gotten a lot worse in the last few years. He totally disregards the traffic conditions around him and one minute will be doing 35 the next, 75. We've tried to tell him but....

He doesn't listen because he knows better than you do, of course. He's older and you're all 7 years old, right?

Considering what happened a year ago with my dad taking off in the minivan and wrecking it and being about 100 miles from home when found, I believe that stricter measures have to be implemented. He's not driving any more and he doesn't have a driver's licence but would that stop anyone on their own?

My mum is only 5 years younger and we can see her mind slipping (with him there, why wouldn't it?) but she does well at most things. She has to stay sharp because he isn't.

When I was in the Philly area back in July, some older lady (60s maybe) drove up to the Talbot's store where I was passing and she went over the parking block. All she needed was a little confusion between the brake and the accelerator and Talbot's would have had a drive-through store. It's so easy for any of us but it's worse when your senses are diminished and worse when your physical control is lacking.

Doctor Q
Sep 17, 2006, 02:12 PM
It's pretty clear why older drivers don't want to give up their drivers licenses. It's psychological. It forces them to admit the loss of their physical abilities and a major change in their lifestyle. It must be hard on the ego. So they laugh off mistakes and hope they will get no worse. "Major accident? No, it would never happen to me." That's the thinking.

Often it is their children who must take action when they see it is time for them to stop driving. I think you can notify the DMV that you know a relative should no longer be driving. I'm not sure just how that system works.

yg17
Sep 17, 2006, 03:28 PM
The DMV just needs to get stricter. Back when I was renewing my license in March, I was behind a little old lady renewing hers. When she was doing the vision test, she was getting things wrong, and the person at the DMV just said "Oh, that's OK, try again" What the hell? There's no such thing as "trying again" when you don't see that pedestrian step into the street or the car in the lane you're trying to change into

I think the DMV is worried that if they say "No" then groups like AARP will be on their ass...kinda like that South Park episode, but you know, without the war and country kitchen buffet. And, I bet such groups would raise hell and cry discrimination. So just to avoid a bunch of old people getting pissed off because they had to pay for a taxi to get to their bingo game, they just hand them licenses every time the renewal date comes up and put everyone else in danger

Doctor Q
Oct 19, 2006, 01:29 AM
Jurors in the Weller trial are in deliberations. Today they asked for clarification of the definition of "gross negligence".

tjwett
Oct 19, 2006, 01:35 PM
horrible. i've always said that they should make it the law that people should have to retake their road test every 2 years after age 60. once your body (and mind) get old you can really go down the tubes overnight. i'd say about 95% of elderly people would fail the standard road test. would sure prevent a lot of auto accidents. ANYONE (teenager, old person, giraffe) simply should not be allowed to drive if they are not capable of passing a standard road test.

Doctor Q
Oct 19, 2006, 02:27 PM
I have a better solution. Let's equip all cars with super-hi-tech sensors and auto-steering and auto-braking systems that take all the human judgment out of accident avoidance, as some luxury cars try to do. Our cars might as well have voice control, so you just get in and say "grocery store" and the car does the rest. Magnetic guides under roads would keep the car in its lane.

In case anything goes wrong, you'd have an expert technician onboard to solve any problems that might require human intervention. We could call these people "chauffeurs". In fact, we could cut down on costs by having these "chauffeurs" do the driving, in which case we could skip the hi-tech features. Humans are better at voice recognition anyway.

So there you have it, the hi-tech solution to accidents: chauffeurs.

Killyp
Oct 19, 2006, 03:22 PM
So there you have it, the hi-tech solution to accidents: chauffeurs.

And then you could even make the people their own chauffeurs!!!! How cool would that be??!?!

atszyman
Oct 19, 2006, 03:28 PM
Some victims want to see him prosecuted. Others don't think that would serve any purpose (he turns 87 January first). Almost all have said they want to see older drivers tested more thoroughly and frequently.

Mr. Weller is 83 years old.

????

Back in 2003 he was supposed to turn 87 on the upcoming January 1st. How did he get 4 years younger?

At this rate do we lock him up until he is 18 and then send him to Juvenile Hall?

Doctor Q
Oct 19, 2006, 03:53 PM
????

Back in 2003 he was supposed to turn 87 on the upcoming January 1st. How did he get 4 years younger?

At this rate do we lock him up until he is 18 and then send him to Juvenile Hall?Either the news reports I read are wrong, I misquoted them, or his lawyers are playing games with us!

MarkCollette
Oct 19, 2006, 07:33 PM
Oh, I'm replying to posts from years ago... :)

Another debatable issue: Would it be worth the cost to put up real concrete barricades, rather than simple sandwich-board signs, when streets are closed for pedestrian events, to prevent rare but deadly disasters like this one?

I was just thinking about this the other day, but in the context of putting up the concrete barriers at every single road construction zone instead of just using pylons. My estimate is yes. Even just economically, if you don't value human life, if it saves one or two lives per year, then it's worthwhile. Since I do value human life, it becomes a no-brainer :)

This doesn't seem to match the treatment of other drivers who simply step on the wrong pedal, which is what he claims happened. Of course, other drivers who make this mistake rarely cause so much carnage.

A decade ago, I was hit by a car, where the driver said that they thought they were pressing on the brake. I was pinned up against a wall, by the bumper, for several seconds, while the tires spun in place. The driver only stopped when I banged on the hood and yelled out. It was so ludicrous, that I'm not sure I believe their explanation either... But, I guess it's not unheard of.

philbeeney
Nov 20, 2006, 12:24 AM
From Wikipedia:

On October 20, 2006, by a unanimous verdict, jurors found Weller guilty on all charges, convicting him of vehicular manslaughter for killing 10 pedestrians. The sentence is to be decided by the Court, with a maximum penalty of 18 years.

From the BBC Website (The world this week):

Elderly driver: US motorist George Weller, 89, is due to be sentenced in California for the manslaughter of 10 people when his car crashed into a farmers' market in 2003.

Ugg
Nov 20, 2006, 12:44 AM
I'm glad to hear that he was found guilty. Hopefully this will send a signal to all elderly drivers whose driving abilities have deteriorated with age. Also, I hope that the children and friends of these drivers realize the consequences are real. I'm sure civil suits are in progress and if the guy has any assets, his children will no longer have anything to inherit.

lamemodem
Nov 20, 2006, 03:45 PM
Wikipedia also says:

On November 20, 2006, Weller receives probation on all counts.

Doctor Q
May 5, 2011, 11:26 AM
The Los Angeles Times reports (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-farmers-market-dragnets-20110503,0,1278622.story) today that the City of Santa Monica is finally going to put up barricades at the Farmers Market that can stop cars without seriously injuring the drivers.

They are nets with heavy-duty cables attached (see photo (http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-05/61373971.jpg)).

obeygiant
May 5, 2011, 01:22 PM
Some of the best veggies I ever had were from that market.

GFLPraxis
May 6, 2011, 10:32 AM
It isnt age discrimination. If the USA didnt place restrictions on people because of age, 5 year olds would vote and buy cigarettes and alcohol, 13 year olds would be driving, and child pornography would run rampant, just to name a few.


And I wouldn't be paying absolutely stupid amounts on my car insurance despite having a safe record and being a responsible homeowning adult, simply because I'm in my early twenties. :mad:

EDIT: DANGIT, I replied to an ancient post. Funny thing is, too, I was reading this thread thinking "Hey, I remember something like this happening years ago."

rhett7660
May 6, 2011, 11:31 AM
The Los Angeles Times reports (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-farmers-market-dragnets-20110503,0,1278622.story) today that the City of Santa Monica is finally going to put up barricades at the Farmers Market that can stop cars without seriously injuring the drivers.

They are nets with heavy-duty cables attached (see photo (http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-05/61373971.jpg)).

At least they didn't rush into anything. :rolleyes:

Surely
May 13, 2011, 03:42 PM
Some of the best veggies I ever had were from that market.

....and fresh pesto.