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83YO Man With Alzheimer’s Fined For Driving Against Traffic In Manjung

83YO Man With Alzheimer’s Fined For Driving Against Traffic In Manjung

He was caught on video driving against the traffic along the Persisian Pantai Barat (WCE) Highway on 9 August.

Adeline Leong

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Recently, a viral video showed a driver in a Mercedes Benz driving dangerously against the traffic along Kilometre 211 of the Persisian Pantai Barat (WCE) Highway near the Sitiawan Selatan exit.

Berita Harian reported that the car was driven by an 83-year-old man who has Alzheimer’s. In the viral video, he was on the way back to his home in Kampung Bharu in Ayer Tawar.

Manjung police chief Assistant Commissioner Nor Omar Sappi said the traffic police from IPD Manjung managed to track down the man.

Nor Omar said the elderly man has been fined for driving recklessly under Section 79(2) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

Should people with Alzheimer’s drive?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and it’s the most common cause of dementia.

People with Alzheimer’s suffer a continuous decline in thinking, behavioural and social skills, which will affect a person’s ability to function independently.

While it’s safer for people with Alzheimer’s to not drive, the National Institute of Aging (NIA) said those with mild Alzheimer’s may be able to drive safely in certain conditions.

However, they should stop getting behind the wheel as their memory and decision-making skills worsen over time.

The decline in both skills means they may not be able to react quickly on the road.

For illustration purposes. Image: Dan Gold/Unsplash

When is it time to stop driving?

The NIA lists some possible signs to look out for:

  • New scratches or dents on the car
  • Confusing brake and gas pedals
  • The person takes a long time to complete a simple errand and is unable to explain why (indicating the person got lost while running errands)
  • Two or more traffic tickets or increased car insurance premiums
  • Recommendations from a doctor to modify driving habits
  • Friends and neighbours made a comment about driving
  • Sudden lane changes and speeding
  • Experiencing other health issues that may impair driving ability such as vision, hearing or mobility changes

Some people suffering from Alzheimer’s will voluntarily give up driving. For others, it’s can be hard for them to lose their independence so they may be reluctant to give up driving.

A way to help them is to talk to them and offer the support they need during the transition.

More information about driving with dementia can be accessed at Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia’s website.

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