Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is it time to take away Hatch's Keys?

I'm not one to call for a mandatory age for people to lose their driving privileges. After all, my great-grandmother got her first driver's license at the age of 75 and drove well into her 90's.

However, some people are scary dangerous on the road as they age.

Take these examples from Senator Hatch:

Washington Post May 21, 2009:

Sen. Orrin Hatch was test-driving a plug-in hybrid Hummer H3, and the 75-year-old Utah Republican was having some technical difficulties.

"How do you start this baby?" Hatch asked of the executives who built the 100-mile-per-gallon SUV.

"It's started," an official told Hatch.

"It's already on?" Hatch asked, surprised. "Heh, heh."

"Put your foot on the brake, then put it in drive," the official said. Nothing happened. "Is your foot on the brake? You have to have your foot on the brake."

"I think I've got it on," the senator replied.

"Nope," the executive said, pointing out the brake pedal. "There we go."

"No wonder," Hatch said. "I had it on the gas."

Oh, dear.

With a whine and a lurch, the Hummer began to accelerate, and for a few terrifying moments, Hatch was in control of the bright-red 5,000-pound truck. Well, not entirely in control. "All I've got to do is smash that car, I'll tell ya," he said of a vehicle in his path. The questions he asked were unsettling: "Squeeze that button? . . . Do I park it this way? . . . I'm going to miss the curb? . . . Is there a reverse?"


A few scary minutes later, he had completed his test drive and was parking the Hummer when a PR man from the company asked Hatch to take another spin because the photographers wanted to get another shot.

"Oh, they do?" Hatch asked, uneasily. After some struggle he asked, "Where's the reverse?"

"Foot on the brake -- there you go," the executive coached again.

"I've got it on," Hatch insisted. "What the heck?" he asked after more struggle. He felt for his cellphone, which was playing a noisy ring tone in the Hummer cabin. "I think we better leave it here," he said finally., This Afternoon:

Mary Ann Askers, "The Sleuth" columnist for the Washington Post, wrote Wednesday that a witness reported that 75-year-old Hatch "grazed" an unidentified woman with his beige Cadillac not far from the Capitol at the tail end of a nasty thunderstorm. "He hit her but she is OK," Askers said the anonymous source reported.

Hatch's office released a written statement to the Deseret News on Wednesday saying the senator actually narrowly missed the pedestrian.

"As he left the Senate Tuesday evening, Senator Hatch narrowly missed a pedestrian who was crossing the street near the Dirksen (Senate office) building," it said.

"The senator was driving slowly through the intersection of C and 1st streets when he suddenly saw an umbrella come down on his car. He immediately stopped, looked to his left and saw a woman who appeared to have jumped back clear of the vehicle."

The statement continues, "She seemed shaken and was obviously upset. So was the senator, who had not seen her and was mortified by what had nearly happened. Senator Hatch rolled down the window, told her he had not seen her an apologized profusely. Witnesses reported that she seemed to be OK."

The statement added, "The senator continued his drive home and, upon his arrival, alerted the Capitol Police about the incident. The senator feels terrible about the close call, but is so grateful the woman was not injured."

I think the Hatch Family at least needs to have a sit-down with the Senator and have a serious discussion. For his safety, as well as that of everyone else.


From The SideTrack

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