Too Old to Drive?

September 20, 2011 Updated Sep 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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September 20, 2011 Updated Sep 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - It's an issue that's in the headlines far to often it seems. An elderly driver accidentally hits the gas instead of the brake and slams into a building.

Just in the last few weeks alone a 63-year-old drove into a Walgreen's in Amherst, and a 74-year-old slammed into the Cheeburger-Cheeburger on Niagara Falls Boulevard, killing two inside.

But are these types of crashes caused because of age?

"There's no age, absolutely not," says Kerry Donnelly from AAA. "It really is the health and fitness of the driver. Typically the healthier the senior, the better driver they're going to be overall."

Donnelly helps run the driver training program for AAA of Western New York that works with the elderly to them safe on the roads. They run programs that include educational training seminars and road evaluations.

"We're looking for checking blind spots, are they able to turn their necks properly, are they seeing cars coming, are they using gas and brake pedals appropriately," Donnelly said.

If a case is severe, the instructor can send a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles, requesting a re-test for the driver.

As for warning signs for family and friends that indicate age and health could be negatively impacting a loved-ones driving? Donnelly says it's all about being proactive and asking questions.

"Look for damage on the car or garage or mailbox. If it's becoming more common there may be an issue."