Horrible incident in Santa Monica. At least 8 reported dead, many more injured.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by macfan, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    #1
    Front page, CNN.
    HERE.

    It's less than a block from the Apple Store that just opened down there.
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    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...
     
  3. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #3
    "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.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

    Joined:
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    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #6
    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.
     
  7. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
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    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #8
    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:
     
  9. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

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    Jan 24, 2002
    #10
    Here's the story from LA Times:

     
  11. Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

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    Metairie, LA
    #11
    My god...I don't know who I feel worse for...

    the guy driving or the victims...

    :(
     
  12. Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
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    Location:
    VA
    #12
    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
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    Historic Norcross
    #13
    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.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    More traffic safety data for elderly drivers can be found here and general traffic safety statistics for 1998 (the most recent year compiled, apparently) are in a PDF on this page.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #14
    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:
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    agreenster

    Joined:
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    #15
    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.
     
  16. Ugg
    macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Penryn
    #16
    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.
     
  17. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #18
    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

    I think a better comparison to age would be a % of crashes with the leading cause cited as rubbernecking.
     
  19. macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    San Francisco
    #19
    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?
     
  20. Ugg
    macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #20
    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.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors 603

    janey

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    sunny los angeles
    #22
    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)
     
  23. macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    San Francisco
    #23
    [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.
     
  24. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    MacFan25

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    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.

    :(
     

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