Drivers in Illinois run the gamut in terms of their ages, from as young as 16 (or 15 in some cases) all the way up to in their 80s or even 90s. One piece of conventional wisdom is that older drivers are more careful and safe than teens and young adults – and auto accident statistics bear that out. But that characterization is far from absolute. There are many instances where older drivers (who should know better) are more reckless and thoughtless than their younger counterparts.
One tragic incident in Menard County last month illustrates this point all too well. Shortly before 12:45pm on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24, a 51-year old man from Petersburg was driving a pickup truck south on Illinois Route 97. Near Lake Petersburg at the intersection with North Shore Road, the pickup crossed the center line and slammed head-on into a vehicle driven by a 27-year old Decatur man, who was airlifted to a Springfield hospital but succumbed to his injuries about two hours later. The pickup driver was later charged with driving under the influence, and may also face charges of driving too fast for conditions.
It’s pretty clear that the Petersburg man will be held responsible for the head-on collision and the death of the young man. Should they choose to do so, the surviving relatives of the Decatur man could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the 51-year old. This type of suit could allow the plaintiffs to receive estimated future wages that the 27-year old would have earned in his lifetime had the crash never occurred. They could also be reimbursed for hospital and burial expenses and even be paid monetary damages for loss of care and companionship.
One of the many takeaways from this story is that no matter what your age or driving experience, alcohol or drugs tend to make you an unsafe and irresponsible driver.