There is always a bit of tut-tutting when an elderly driver is involved in a road accident, and this went into overdrive last week when the old man involved in a spectacular crash turned out to be the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth.
The duke’s Land Rover was in collision with a family car, a Kia, as he drove out of the Queen’s private estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, onto a public road. The Land Rover rolled several times but the duke was unhurt.
The other car contained two women and a nine-month-old boy.
The baby was unhurt, the driver was treated for knee injuries and the passenger, Emma Fairweather, sustained a broken wrist.
The duke immediately enquired about the occupants of the other car and the royal household sent the ladies a sympathetic message.
However, things were not improved for the duke, also known as Prince Philip, when he was spotted a few days later driving another vehicle on the estate without a seat belt.
Police gave him “words of advice” about this misdemeanour, but also started an investigation into the accident.
Experts said the duke could lose his licence if he was found guilty of careless driving.
There are regular reports of elderly motorists driving the wrong way down motorways or being involved in narrow misses.
One man in his 80s nearly sideswiped a police car and then failed a roadside eye test, demonstrating that he could only read a car registration plate up to seven metres against the required 20 metres.
After the duke’s accident, social media carried demands for an age limit for drivers or regular medical checks.
At the moment, motorists over 70 must declare they are fit every three years, but they do not have to take a driving test or a medical.
Official figures show that Britain has one million licence-holders aged over 80, and 121 over 100, including two aged 105 and one aged 106, a lady, who is still behind the wheel.
Plus, statistics show that drivers under 20 have more fatal accidents than drivers over 75.
The RAC Foundation found that drivers aged 75-plus made up six percent of all licence holders but accounted for just 4.3 percent of all deaths.
By contrast, drivers aged 16-20 make up just 2.5 percent of all drivers but represent 13 percent of those killed.
Where older drivers struggle is at locations where drivers are required to look around quickly and make quick decisions, such as high-speed junctions and slip roads onto motorways. Otherwise, they are as good as anyone else.
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When a patient at a Glasgow practice said they did not want to see “an Asian doctor”, the receptionist explained that the physician in question, Dr Punam Krishan, was Scottish.
“She doesn’t look Scottish,” the patient remarked. Said the receptionist, “What do Scottish people look like?”
Dr Krishan said this silenced the patient, who took their appointment card and sat down.
When the incident appeared on social media, some comments suggested that the individual should have been told to find another practice.
However, Dr Krishan said she had a duty of care and did not discriminate.
“My receptionist put this person in their place and they left with some food for thought,” she said.
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The old lady was an ideal victim: a care home resident in her 90s, confused and with money in the bank, and it did not take long for the manager of the home to start helping herself.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that Susan Stewart ran the Sycamore Care Home in Sunderland in northeast England, where her daughter, Carly Douglas, was a carer.
Between June and July of 2016, Stewart stole £2,990 (Ksh395,935) of the old lady’s money in cash machine withdrawals. Her daughter withdrew £18,000 using online banking.
When the old lady’s bank account was frozen, Douglas made three phone calls to the bank impersonating her in an attempt to get it reactivated.
Recorder Geoffrey Pritchard described the offence as “a very grave abuse of trust” on a frail old lady. He sent Douglas to prison for 30 months and Stewart for 27 months.
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Two young men training to be Jesuit priests fancied a smoke and decided to ask their superior for permission.
The first was told no, but the second got the go-ahead. How come?
Waving his cigarette, the favoured one replied, “You asked if you could smoke while you prayed and I asked if I could pray while I smoked.”
A huge traffic jam outside Parliament. A driver explains, “Terrorist have seized the politicians and are demanding 10 million pounds for ransom or they will douse the MPs in petrol and set them on fire.”
He adds, “We are taking up a collection.” A newly arrived driver asks, “How much are people giving?” Reply: “About two gallons each.”