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Melody

Prince Philip's accident

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I see HRH is back behind the wheel already.

 

What's the law over there about old people and driving? Back in the day, my husband's grandmother claimed she never had to take any tests regardless of her age because she was given a driving licence for life in the late 1920s. Fortunately she didn't have access to a car, or there might have been real trouble. But people in their 90s are bound to have less than great eyesight and reaction times, so I was wondering what sort of safeguards there are.

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None unless the family and friends can convince their elderly person the time has come to give up driving. As a licence holder you are obliged to inform DVLA if you have certain medical conditions and for some conditions a GP has to assess ability. We have a distant relative who yearly gets passed by GP as safe to drive despite his dementia diagnosis, as for the duration of the appointment he manages to appear totally lucid. Worryingly he sometimes can’t find his way home on his daily walk never mind getting behind the wheel. I suspect HRH is also if the age were licences were a given right without a formal driving test. 

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In my opinion no 97 year old is going to have sufficiently fast reaction times to drive on public roads.  Good eyesight or not, there’s much more to safe driving than being able to see.  My Grandmother was as sharp as a box of knives at 99 but she stopped driving at 80 because she knew her reaction times were too slow.  It’s one thing driving around the grounds on your own property; quite another driving yourself on public highways.  

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Luckily I think most people stop when they start to feel uncomfortable about it. I'm 71 and am a pretty confident driver but don't drive in London anymore even though I drove there for years!! Just too much traffic....even if it is crawling along at 20 mph most of the time.

We are all so different though and one 80 year old would be fine but another not! Some people have done loads of driving in their time and in built up areas like London etc and so are very confident generally .....whereas others have not done that much have always been only occasional drivers.

However 97 is quite old!!. I really don't think the current GP assessing the situation is adequate.

It was very difficult but I had to stop my own father driving at 83 as he had developed a level of dementia that I thought made him unsafe even though at that point he only ever drove to the local shops. This was not easy to do either but I had some help with a couple of really good neighbours.

His sight was okay though!! And that seems to be the main thing the GP looks at otherwise the form the driver has to fill in is not challenged .....the person could say everything is hunky dory and they get the licence for another three years!! 

Personally I think that after 80 at least every 2-3 years you should be assessed to drive by a professional driving instructor in the car with you. Not a driving test as such ....but an hour or so to assess how you are driving and whether you still understand the road signs and so on. A family member could be in the car with you to make sure this was done fairly. 

Most elderly drivers ....unless they do have some form of dementia ....start to limit themselves eg don't like driving on motorways any more .....don't like any journey lasting more than about an hour....only drive really familiar routes and so on.

And it has to be remembered that drivers in the 20-35 year age group have five times more accidents than 70- 80 year olds and more serious ones too where a death may be involved.

Regards Prince Philip he was only behind the wheel after the accident on his own land I gather .....and this is not illegal!! 

We don't know the precise details of the accident yet before entirely assuming he is at fault ......though pulling out of a smaller road onto a main road usually puts the responsibility onto you. We don't know yet the speed the other car was going .....though I think assessing this sort of thing for more elderly drivers may be one of the difficulties. 

 

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The news over the weekend has been full of one of the ladies in the Kia saying that the Royal Family have not been in touch to see how they are.

 

If mere mortals are involved in automobile accidents we are advised by our insurance companies NOT to contact the other parties as that can be taken as an admission of guilt.  Why is this lady so shocked?

 

I don't think any 97yo can have good enough reactions to still be driving (especially when you don't need to).

 

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

The news over the weekend has been full of one of the ladies in the Kia saying that the Royal Family have not been in touch to see how they are.

 

If mere mortals are involved in automobile accidents we are advised by our insurance companies NOT to contact the other parties as that can be taken as an admission of guilt.  Why is this lady so shocked?

 

I don't think any 97yo can have good enough reactions to still be driving (especially when you don't need to).

 

 

This was my first reaction too Jan - it's for the insurance company to deal with anything and everything.  I was involved in a very minor incident in the dance school car park a few years back and made the error of agreeing we could sort it out between ourselves.  I didn't agree to give her cash but wanted to pay the garage directly - it was a minor scratch on her car -  turned out her insurance was third party and she resorted to a no-win/no-fee company and the case turned into a thousands of pounds claim plus injury compensation which my insurers had to refute and fraud investigators were involved - her company dropped her case and she decided to "represent herself" - the case is on-going!  If anything ever happens again I would be straight onto the insurance company!

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39 minutes ago, Newdancermum said:

 

This was my first reaction too Jan - it's for the insurance company to deal with anything and everything.  I was involved in a very minor incident in the dance school car park a few years back and made the error of agreeing we could sort it out between ourselves.  I didn't agree to give her cash but wanted to pay the garage directly - it was a minor scratch on her car -  turned out her insurance was third party and she resorted to a no-win/no-fee company and the case turned into a thousands of pounds claim plus injury compensation which my insurers had to refute and fraud investigators were involved - her company dropped her case and she decided to "represent herself" - the case is on-going!  If anything ever happens again I would be straight onto the insurance company!

 

Oh what an awful experience for you.

 

I was backing out of a space in Tescos some years ago.  I had seen a car and thought it had gone past me.  It had stopped.  The next thing is a horn is blaring and the female driver was yelling that I had backed into her.  At worst my car had touched hers.

 

She checked her car for damage and finally said she could see a dent and assumed we would settle without involving insurance.  I couldn't see a dent where my bumper would have touched her car but there was a nasty dent much higher up.  Knowing a friend who had had real issues a couple of years earlier I said I would deal with my insurance company and we swapped details.  I rang my insurance company the minute I got home ... it turns out she hadn't given me her proper address and she hadn't written her registration number down.  I never heard any more but my insurance company still logged it as an incident against me and affected my no claims accordingly.  A number of lessons were learned there!

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My immediate reaction, too, was that for HRH to have apologised - which was the complaint, I think? - would have been seen as an admission of liability, so he couldn't have done it if he'd wanted to.  Anyway, I expect the newspaper paid a tidy sum for the exclusive, regardless of anything else - wonder whether that would affect her case?

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3 hours ago, alison said:

My immediate reaction, too, was that for HRH to have apologised - which was the complaint, I think? - would have been seen as an admission of liability, so he couldn't have done it if he'd wanted to.  Anyway, I expect the newspaper paid a tidy sum for the exclusive, regardless of anything else - wonder whether that would affect her case?

 

Strange how everyone's immediate response seems to have been that it was HRH's fault.  Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence, the golden thread that runs through British justice?  If you weren't there and don't know what happened, better to keep an open mind and not jump to conclusions.

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Regardless of who’s at fault - and it could of course be 50/50 if the other driver saw the Duke pulling out but didn’t brake early enough - neither driver should have apologised at the scene (or while an investigation is ongoing) because, as alison says, it can be taken as an admission of liability.  

 

I don’t know if the tabloids are encouraging this woman’s complaints and inflated sense of entitlement but at present the best thing she could do is to stay quiet.  Nobody else involved in a damage-only or minor injury road traffic collision gets “emotional support” from the Police and they certainly don’t get phone calls, cards and bouquets from the other driver.  You deal with the officer in charge and then solely with the insurance companies.   She’s not doing herself any favours. 

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I think the presumption that it was HRH's fault is probably down to the reports of him saying that the sun had blinded him when he pulled out and the fact that the other car had right of way.

 

In terms of the woman making all these complaints - I believe this was the passenger of the other car involved in the accident, the one who broke her wrist and not the driver so the insurance situation is probably nothing to do with her (unless it was her car and another driver on her policy was behind the wheel)

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I’m afraid I’d be pretty darn angry if I had a broken wrist which seems to have been caused by an elderly driver driving carelessly (pulling out of a private road onto a public road without giving way which is what seems to have happened) when all the press attention has been on the elderly driver simply because of who he is. And the culture of deference to people simply because of an accident of birth. 

 

A broken wrist is - in my experience anyway - not a negligee injury. It’s at least 6 weeks of temporary disability and often pain, as well as loss of income. I broke my wrist through engaging in winter sports, and it led to a year of pain and operations. My own responsibility however. But if it had been caused by someone’s careless driving and error of judgement - as seems to be the case -  I’d be quite angry I think. 

 

But it then I’m a republican - I tend to think the Windsor’s are mostly unnecessary and I dislike the deference generally paid to them, even when they’re clearly badly behaved. 

 

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The problem is with many car accidents though is that it's only occasionally all one persons fault. It's often a combination of two drivers making often minor mistakes. Unless you have been drinking or on your phone while driving none of us is perfect. Most people have near misses so are lucky but this usually reminds one to be more careful.....accidents can easily happen and luckily most are usually minor with just damage to vehicles. 

There is a possibility the other car was going too fast to stop safely when Prince Phillips car pulled out.

I do understand that this road is a fast road and people do have a problem trying to join it. I'm sure most of us drivers has experienced that frustration when nobody will let you out onto the road and you are sitting there for ages as much as 10 mins sometimes. It's likely that in those situations you are more likely to then take chances....not advisable but rather human. 

I think they are going to reduce the speed limit on this road because other people have complained about trying to join it.

Obviously more traffic lights are needed in certain hot spots but cash strapped councils probably don't want to put them in.

 

I don't see anybody being over deferential to the Duke in this particular incidence ....quite the opposite most people slating him off because they think he is too old to drive!! 

Also he did enquire how the other people were in the accident at the scene ....he was apparently more worried about them than himself.

But there's only so far you can go once you see they don't need your help. His protection officers who were following probably took over fairly quickly I assume too.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, LinMM said:

I do understand that this road is a fast road and people do have a problem trying to join it. 

 

I know that road quite well, and people do drive very fast along there.  

 

Eventually we will find out the exact circumstances, and I suppose until then there's no point in speculating.

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9 minutes ago, invisiblecircus said:

It has now been reported that Prince Phillip has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence.

 

Sounds sensible.

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For my Part,thepresumption of guilt was made solely on the basis that HRH’s car turned into the main road.

 

Whilst it’s correct that your insurance company would not want you to say anything that implied guilt, the RF handled the incident badly.  Regardless of who was at fault, the facts were that one party miraculously had a brand new car delivered the next day whilst the other was left without transport. It would have been a nice gesture if somebody from Sandringham had telephoned the lady and said that they would like to provide her with alternative transport whilst the insurance companies sorted out repairs.

 

I am a monarchist but it was the height of folly for the Duke to be seen out driving on public roads the next day.

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I texted my sister a blurry snap of Prince Charles at Two Pigeons tonight, and she replied "Be careful when you leave, his dad's coming to pick him up"

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