ROSEVILLE (AP) -- A day after an elderly couple was killed when their car collided with one driven by an 88-year-old woman, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee has called for more testing of senior drivers.
Sen. Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said senior drivers ought to be subject to more testing like eye exams as well as written and road tests.
On Sunday, the Zimmers -- Charles, 90, and Hertha, 89 -- where killed in an accident that was one of a string of crashes allegedly caused by an 88-year-old Falcon Heights woman.
The woman apparently left a Roseville drug store and drove into two cars, over curbs, a sidewalk and bushes before stopping in traffic. When a pedestrian asked if she was OK, she stepped on the gas again.
She headed across two northbound lanes of traffic, then two southbound lanes, and onto the sidewalk. The car then headed back into oncoming traffic, broadsiding a car, police and witnesses said.
The Zimmers were on their way to celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary. They were being driven by their 66-year-old daughter. Police have not identified the 88-year-old woman.
Johnson said on Monday that he anticipates calling a hearing about senior drivers, but also about public safety in general, before the next session.
"I'm not centering in because an 88-year-old woman had an accident and two people were killed," he said. "It's a larger issue."
Bystanders of Sunday's accident compared the crash to the July 16 incident in Santa Monica, Calif., in which an 86-year-old man drove through a crowded market, killing 10 people and injuring dozens more. It lead to a national debate about older drivers.
"My mother would resent this remark, but I think there should be annual written and oral tests" for drivers older than 75, said Sueann Clemans of St. Paul, standing on the spot when the 88-year-old woman began her drive.
"Was it a stroke? Did she pass out?" wondered Leo Cullen, 80, who lives seven blocks from the accident. "But you can't stop and then start again if you do that."
Of the 3.65 million licensed drivers in Minnesota, about 509,000 are 65 or older, according to the state Department of Transportation. All drivers must renew their licenses every four years. The only requirement to do so is to pass a vision test and take a new drivers license photo.
Family members, doctors and police officers can bring concerns about a driver of any age to Driver and Vehicle Services. Agents will investigate the complaint by bringing in the driver for a personal interview, which could then be followed up with tests.
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