Death crash leads to coroner making call for changes

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A CORONER has called for more extensive checks on elderly drivers after a Gosport man’s death.

David Horsley said he is going to write to the DVLA to ask for more detailed checks to be introduced before people aged over 70 are allowed to drive again.

The call comes after 94-year-old Arthur Shaw was hit by a car of which the driver Kathleen Broadhurst, suffered from dementia.

An inquest into the Mr Shaw’s death found that he died after being hit by car on Privett Road.

He was hit after he stopped on the pavement to cross the street near islands in the road.

But the hearing heard that Ms Broadhurst, who hasn’t driven since the accident which took place on New Year’s Eve 2012, was diagnosed with dementia just two months before the incident.

Speaking in his conclusion, Mr Horsley said: ‘It seems to me that there may be a problem with the way that elderly drivers are checked by doctors.

‘Therefore, I will be writing to the DVLA to address these problems.’

It was revealed during the inquest that Ms Broadhurst was called as a witness.

But a doctor’s note explained she was suffering from dementia and, for that reason, wouldn’t be a reliable witness.

In the hearing reports showed that Mr Shaw, who was partially deaf and had slight vision problems, was returning to his home after visiting his friend.

He was taken to Southampton General Hospital with multiple injuries to the legs and pelvis. He died a day later.

Mr Horlsey said: ‘Based on what I have heard, we have a situation with a 94-year-old gentleman with hearing and vision problems, but with a good quality of life being able to do things himself.

‘We also have a situation where we have an elderly lady who at the time of the accident was diagnosed and suffered with dementia.

‘But without her able to give evidence, we cannot know for sure how the incident occurred.

‘I have to conclude that he died due to an accident.’

A statement from the DVLA said: ‘The rules are clear that all drivers over 70 have to renew their licence every three years and have to tell the DVLA about any medical conditions which might affect their driving.

‘We also have special arrangements with medical professionals and the police for them to notify us quickly about diagnosed or suspected health problems and we investigate these urgently.

‘We will investigate notifications from third parties including concerned relatives, friends and neighbours.

‘If we find evidence a driver does not meet the appropriate medical standards we will remove their entitlement to drive.’