Family Of Bicyclist Fatally Struck By Elderly Driver Calls For Cognitive Tests At MVA

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The family of a Johns Hopkins student who died after a bicycling accident says more needs to be done to test elderly drivers. They took their message to Annapolis Wednesday where they are fighting a proposal they say would make Maryland roads a lot more dangerous.

Derek Valcourt has the message from the family of Nathan Krasnopoler.

The family wants the Motor Vehicle Administration to adopt simple tests they say could easily identify high-risk drivers. But it’s a sensitive subject, especially for the elderly.

One year ago this month, Nathan Krasnopoler, 20, rode his bicycle around the Johns Hopkins campus when he was struck by an 83-year-old driver and became trapped under her car.

The driver never called for help. Instead, she got out of her car and sat on a nearby wall.

Doctors declared Nathan Krasnopoler brain-dead. He died months later.

“I lost my brother and I shouldn’t have. He should still be alive today,” Elliot Krasnopoler, Nathan Krasnopoler’s brother, said.

Nathan Krasnopoler’s brother and mother are now fighting Senate Bill 111 which would renew licenses for eight years instead of the current five-year period.

“It’s one of those delicate balances,” MVA Administrator John Kuo said.

The MVA administrator says with growing populations and shrinking state budgets, his agency needs to do more work with less money.

“By extending the duration of the current driver’s license from its five years to eight years, that will help us smooth out our additional customer flows into the future,” Kuo said.

“But in doing that, there’s no provisions in the bill for making sure that drivers are in fact going to be able to safely drive in that eight-year period,” Nathan Krasnopoler’s mother Susan Cohen said.

The family is asking lawmakers to amend the bill to mandate simple cognitive tests at the time of license renewal that could help identify potentially unsafe drivers, including older drivers like the one who struck Nathan Krasnopoler.

“We don’t give our 12 year olds licenses, and there’s a reason for that,” Cohen said. “We really need to make sure that everybody on the road is able to drive safely.”

But MVA officials insist there’s no proof that longer license-renewal periods lead to unsafe roadways. They point out the state already has a program to test seniors for their competency, but only if the seniors are referred by themselves, family members, doctors or law enforcement.

The driver that struck Nathan Krasnopoler agreed to permanently surrender her license as part of a lawsuit settlement. Family members are planning a vigil on Feb. 26– the anniversary of the accident. The vigil will be held at Broadview Apartments at 105 W. 39th Street, where the accident occurred.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • Aries Post

    Elderly drivers … almost every day i see one of them driving in a horrible way

    See articles on

  • Ernie

    Both times I’ve been in car accidents and hurt, I was hit by somebody too old to drive.

  • Laurel

    funny I see everyone at EVERY AGE as a horrible driver….this entire Country needs to retrain drivers….there is not a day I don’t drive the worst drivers are the young to middle aged idiots that tailgate and speed….this Country gives out drivers license like there is nothing to it…oh wait there is nothing to it. we have such relaxed laws and rules it’s pathetic.

    • Wiseguy

      Unfortunately…Big insurance companys won’t let that happen.

      Accidents DRIVE their business.

  • crazy!

    All of you complaining about elderly drivers will be the same ones complaining when your driver’s license is taken away when you are elderly.

  • Judee

    I am a senior citizen and I agree that at some age people may need to be tested to make sure their reflexes and concentration are still good enough to be a safe driver. I can’t imagine how a senior citizen, or any citizen, would feel if they unintentionally killed or maimed someone simply because they were not up to snuff, so to speak. My grandmother drove up until her 90th birthday and then she willing turned in her license so she would not hurt herself or someone else. I sincerely hope that when I reach an age where I am not as aware as I should be that someone will be there to help me realize it.

  • Mary

    My dad at 78 had a car accident and it was his fault. There were minor injuries (neck spasm) to the people in the vehicle he collided with. My dad knew that was it and he gave up driving. He used common sense and knew he did not want to put others in harm’s way. If all elderly drivers did the same voluntarily but they won’t so I agree with the family that legislation is needed. I think the legislation should also include drug testing each time a driver goes for his/her license renewal. Make is mandatory to all drivers.

    • Diane King

      Definitely legislation is needed to have elderly drivers re-tested so hopefully they can be off the road BEFORE an accident makes them realize that they can’t drive anymore.

    • georgeanna

      I agree with you 100%. I am only 63 yrs old and stopped driving because I was impaired due to meds I have to take.

  • Working Poor

    I agree, a lot of elderly people willingly give up driving because they realize that they should. But then there are those who dont because of pride, stubborness, or independance, and those are the ones that the state needs these programs for.

  • MD DAD

    If DMV retested all the current drivers that live in the Baltimore Metro area on the driving portion of the test, and did the test driving on the actual roads and not that pathetic obstacle course behind the DMV building; many drivers that currently hold a Md. drivers license would not make it a mile from the building, before they are told to turn around and go back because they failed the test. The obstacle courses behind DMV, are a joke compared to what driving skills one actually needs to survive Maryland’s busy roads and highways today.
    Now to make matters worse, the state is considering an 8 year license because of budget problems. I realize that some states in this country are giving an option to get their drivers license renewed up to 8 years. However most of these states that offer this do not have as many major highway arteries that run through such a congested smaller state like the State of Maryland.
    The only thing I envision going into this new plan, is that we are now paying more in taxes and getting less services for our tax dollar. Then getting the added bonus for the chance of increasing the state’s accident fatalities. This is so ludicrous.

  • ballsohardclub

    Young angry aggressive drivers are the worst along with the obstinate stubborn 88 yr old…..I am a professional driver with over fort years experience.

  • MD DAD

    And distracted drivers still talking on a cellphone without a hands free device. Even though there is a state law that should be preventing this problem.

  • Clair Balsano

    My father was involved in a motorcycle accident with an elderly driver. The man was attempting to pass 4 cars on a double yellow in a blind curve. My father was severely injured and sent to Shock trauma with a shattered femur and several broken bones. He still suffers now 10 years later with chronic pain as a result of this accident. The man responsible for the accident was 84 years old. While I admit not all elderly drivers have diminished senses this man certainly did. It is a miracle I have my father today. My heart goes out to this family who lost a loved one at such a young age. I wish not only would they keep the renewal at 5 years but they would have people do a driving skills and reaction test. Changes need to be made to prevent such senseless tragedies from continuing to occur.

  • georgeanna

    All drivers over the age of 60 should be tested every year, both written and driving tests. I have seen too much really incompetent driving of elderly people. I am 63 and stopped driving on my own before I caused an accident because my driving was impaired due to medications I must take. Some of the elderly are too selfish to give it up and some are just mentally challenged.

  • Laurel

    I love reading these comments about elderly people getting retested…as stated before EVERY SINGLE DRIVER needs to be retested written and road test…we all suck at driving bottom line…no one makes a big stink when a 35 year old person thinks they are stepping on the gas and goes through the front window of a dry cleaners….please, if you don’t know the gas from the brake pedal, I really think you have issues than.

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