Senior Drivers: A Traffic Judge’s Perspective

Vol. 24 No. 1

By

Judge Freddrenna M. Lyle is jointly assigned to the Elder Law and Miscellaneous Remedies Division and the First Municipal District, which includes Traffic Court, of the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. Before joining the bench, Judge Lyle was in private practice. She has also served in numerous civic and public service capacities, including that of alderman of the 6th Ward of the City of Chicago.

As the prosecutor and defense argued aggravation and mitigation in the trial I was conducting, I flashed back to the signs I had missed. I remembered the little dings and scratches on my dad’s car that he never wanted to discuss. At first, it was “that other driver” in the parking lot causing the damage. He then feigned ignorance as to how and when that dent appeared in the rear quarter panel. I realized I could no longer ignore the signs and began to research how to initiate “the conversation.” Looking at the daughter accompanying her elderly dad to my courtroom that day, I knew that she, too, was about to have this talk. In fact, after I entered the sentence in her dad’s case, she asked me to have “the conversation” because she frankly did not know what to say.

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