Crash shows need to talk to elderly family about giving up keys



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Posted on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 6:29 PM

FORT WORTH- Watching the surveillance video from the weekend of a truck plowing into a group of shoppers in Lake Worth makes you think it could happen to anybody.

There was no time to react.

Vincente Martinez, 82, appeared dazed, but uninjured after injuring five people and killing seven-year-old Savannah Deegear. She was struck while walking next to her mother, who was only grazed.

Martinez' daughter said he has diabetes and likely had a seizure behind the wheel.

Dr. Jennifer Arnouville is a geriatrician who helps her patients understand if it's time to give up driving.

"If a person is having trouble with their blood pressure or blood sugar, or they have any kind of unstable medical condition, such as seizures, that's a reason to stop driving," Arnouville said.

A 2009 study from the AAA Foundation found 69 percent of Americans ages 55 and older use more than one medication that can affect their driving.

When to give up the keys is a difficult conversation, but Arnouville recommends having it with a parent before their health deteriorates, so everyone's clear on what to expect.

"You are asking the person to be cut off from the outside world, unless there is a strong plan of action," she said.