The front seat of a car shows two hands on a wheel and a blurred windshield with floating question marks hovering over it.

The Danger of Driving Legally Blind

I like me. I actually like me quite a bit. I believe I am, generally speaking, a good and moral person. I like to treat this good and moral person well. I like my freedom to do things. I like spending my money the way I want to spend it. I have always thought most people felt pretty much the same way about their respective selves. Apparently I was wrong.

The letter

Let’s go back in time a few weeks. The scene is the retinologist’s office waiting area. I was sitting next to and struck up a conversation with another, obviously visually impaired person. This person was lamenting the lack of support he was getting for his visual impairment. I suggested several different sources of help. I told him all he had to do is submit a letter attesting to the fact he is legally blind. Simple; right?

Driving legally blind

OMG. Absolutely not! Then “they” will know he is visually impaired. Then he would lose his license.

Hold on. I stopped driving over three years ago. Why is this guy still driving?

As we “discussed” the issue, it became apparent this person had somehow decided that as long as he was not admitting to being legally blind, it was alright to keep driving. During the daytime. Only to the store. Once a week. You have heard these arguments before. Maybe you even make them for yourself.

Imagining the worst

Unfortunately, failing to accept reality does not make reality less real. That’s where my comments about really liking myself come in.

I am 66 and figure I have about 25, good years left. On good days I push that estimate up to 30. How would I happily survive another 25 to 30 years when I knew I killed someone and it all could have been prevented? What if I killed a child? How would I live with myself if that happened? I think of myself as a generally good and moral person. What would I think of myself then?

The consequences

And, please don’t be deluded into thinking legally blind drivers who cause fatal accidents are exempt from punishment somehow. I went online and found at least half a dozen court cases in which a legally blind driver was charged with vehicular homicide. Don’t look now, but that is just a fancy word for "murder".

Some of these people were found guilty. Some were not. A couple of them were fined and got off with “time served”.

Questions to ponder

Time served is still jail time. Would you want to be incarcerated for a matter of convenience and vanity? I want that gallon of ice cream now when I want it. When it is convenient for me. I don’t want to be seen riding the “short bus”. How convenient would it be to be locked up for weeks or months? Do you really want to be seen in that orange uniform? I mean, orange is the new black. It cannot be that bad.

And money, of course. My lawyer is $175/hr. Do I truly want to spend all my savings on defending myself just because I refused to quit driving and killed someone? I think the answer to that is “no”.

Losing more than vision

Look it up if you don’t believe me. I searched "legally blind + vehicular homicide" and found about half a dozen cases. They were attempting to prosecute every one of them. Some drivers did time. Some did not but every one of those legally blind drivers had their good names destroyed and spent a fortune in legal fees. Not to mention their consciences.

You think about it, but you know what? I pass. I REALLY like me.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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