Concerns over elderly drivers highlighted following wrong way driving incident

MILWAUKEE -- The number of wrong way driving incidents in Milwaukee County just this year is 31! The latest incident occurred on Sunday, November 11th on Milwaukee's north side, and involved a driver who wasn't drunk, but confused.

Around 5:30 Sunday evening, an 82-year-old driver caused concern on Port Washington Road.

911 Caller: "While they were driving up (Port) Washington Road they were going over the median, back and forth, in between the lanes.  So I don't know if it's an old person or a drunk driver."

The confused driver entered an interstate off ramp and in the rainy conditions, continued down I-43. DOT video shows her headlights as she passes by dozens of drivers who hit the breaks.

911 Caller: "I am northbound on I-43 and there is a car in the northbound lanes going south."

As the 911 calls came in, Sheriff's deputies were quickly alerted and a Bayside police officer stopped the driver near Brown Deer Road.

The 82-year-old driver was cited, and may have to re-take her driver's test.

"I think ultimately, when we have contact with (elderly drivers), it's the fear of losing their driving privileges," State Trooper David Schmidt said.

Schmidt says dangers on the roadways can come with age.

"Your eyesight starts to go. It's harder to see during hours of darkness. The sun glare affects you with your glasses," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says he hopes this latest wrong way driving incident serves as a cautionary tale -- one he hopes will lead to some frank discussions with elderly parents or friends.

"Be frank with them. Tell them 'I`m concerned about your safety.' Go driving with them. Explain you concerns as you're driving with them," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says another important issue to consider is that people generally take more medications as they age and that can impact driving as well.