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talosian


Jul 7, 2005, 10:34 AM

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People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Excuse me if this has been posted before.

I don't get the Reporter regularly but did see one at LCS yesterday and noted the accident at Salvator's (in Ajijic/Lakeside/Chapala) last month when an elderly lady, who is alleged to have had some prior auto accidents, apparently had her car in drive rather than reverse and when it wouldn't move - due to the concrets tire blocks - gunned it and hit a table and chairs (unoccupied at the time) and injured a woman who was nearby before hitting the wall of the restaurant.

Apparently one can drive on a foreign - and possibly even expired - license here forever with no tests by the Mexican DMV and surprisingly enough, according to what I have read, with no requirement for auto insurance..

Probably every one of us has seen someone clearly too old or inform to be a decent driver. I know I did in California when a very old man backed his Caddy into a woman's shopping cart (no serious damage or injury). I went over to assist and the man seemed very "confused" and didn't know what had happened. He wouldn't get out of the car and had a blank look on his face when he drive off without asking about the woman or offering his identification in case there was an injury.

What is really scary is that when we are in cars, we have a lot of protection around us and since speeds on the cobblestone in most towns are not encouraging to speeders, there probably isn't much chance of a traffic fatality in town. But when we can be sitting at an open-air cafe and someone plows into an eating area, well, the human body isn't really designed to be anywhere near breaking even in a "confrontation" with 3000#s of steel pushed by between 100 and 300 horses.

I suggest if any of us know someone who clearly is too old or infirm to drive safely, they talk with the person and try to counsel them about finding alternative means of transportation. If you don't feel comfortable with that then how about consider doing something such as at the least, trying to contact their nearest of kin and explain the problem. Anyone who says this problem doesn't exist, especially in a Gringo retirement area where "young" is 65, simply are not understanding reality.

Now I know at least one person here will respond about how stupid this post is and I'm an ars for telling people they should tell someone else how to live their lives, or try to take away their independence, etc. I will also be told most people here are not Neurologists, etc. and can't determine if someone is "fit to drive" or not.

My response to the above is that while the odds are statistrically small, these persons who you feel are none of you concern may someday cause an accident which injures or even kills your spouse, visiting child, grandchild, sibling, friend, or even YOU. And if that should happen, you will be the first (unless you're dead or in a coma) to be screaming about how that person should not have been allowed to drive in their "condition."

And it doesn't take a Neurologist or a battery of tests for a lay person to figure out when someone should not be driving. If it is someone you know and interact with reasonably regularly, the signs are easy to see. For more details about when someone may be too old to drive, just go to Google and put in "too old drive" (without the quote marks) and there you will not only find your answers (and it is NOT based on age, but rather ability) and a lot of stories where you will be glad you were not a participant.

So as the old saying goes (well, almost), "Be proactive and help, the life you save may be your own."
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.



Bubba

Jul 7, 2005, 2:00 PM

Post #2 of 24 (4977 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Well, damn, Spock; you're making a lot of sense. I've got to stop smoking that weed.


Ed and Fran

Jul 7, 2005, 2:30 PM

Post #3 of 24 (4964 views)

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Re: [Bubba] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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And here I thought he was referring to taxi drivers and combi/pesero drivers. Now theres a category that needs special attention. ;-)



Regards

Ed


Carol Schmidt


Jul 7, 2005, 2:59 PM

Post #4 of 24 (4949 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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It's a lot easier for an elderly person to hang up the keys and sell the car when there are comparatively cheap and abundant alternative means of transportation, as there usually are in Mexican cities.

One reason we picked San Miguel is because it is a walking town--we keep thinking about selling our car, which we drive less than 100 miles a month compared to 40,000 miles a year in Phoenix and LA. Lots of elderly gringos don't have cars here--but a few too many do, even here where there is no excuse.

When my dad lived out in rural Michigan with us, five miles from the nearest small town and 90 miles from any major city, with no buses or taxis, giving up his driving would be like collapsing into nothingness. It would mean no social activity, no way to get groceries or anything else, no way to get to a doctor or library, just sitting in his recliner and watching TV the rest of his life, waiting for whatever groceries not of his choice we would bring him.

He retired from Ford's--cars were his life. His wife before she died kept trying to get him to give up driving starting around age 75 and he refused. He wouldn't listen to anyone. He had a cornea removed to make sure he could pass the next eye exam when his drivers license expired, and the state of Michigan simply mailed him an automatic renewal at age 81, good for another seven years, so he didn't even need to pass an eye test, much less demonstrate he had driving skills.

Luckily we got him into a retirement community with a shuttle van service, and his car engine blew up and he couldn't afford to get a new engine, before he did serious damage. He'd left dents from Florida to Arizona. We told him we wouldn't drive with him because his driving was too dangerous, but that had no effect. The police said they could do nothing, we'd have to have him declared incompetent and take guardianship. He was not incompetent, even at nearly 89 when he died of a heart attack.

Sometimes just talking to people won't do any good, especially when their whole way of life revolves around their cars.

Carol Schmidt


Marlene


Jul 7, 2005, 2:59 PM

Post #5 of 24 (4946 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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You have pointed out just one more of the things that are very different here in Mexico. Safety issues are viewed rather differently than most of us are used to. That's just the way it is and this is something to consider when planning a move to Mexico if this sort of thing rattles one too much. (I will never forget my first time ever in Mexico, which happened to be Mexico City, and the taxi ride to my hotel. I was convinced I would die shortly and was kicking myself for not having my affairs in order. Thankfully the hotel gift basket contained a bottle of tequila and some chocolates! )

One elderly Mexican woman on my street in Mazatlan stopped driving at 87 when her car quit. That was probably the indication that things are getting too old; when they quit. No one would have dreamed of telling her to stop doing her daily drive to the market, though I did notice that she had helpers unloading her groceries upon her return and mentioning to her that her car was 3 feet from the curb.

What about no vehicle inspections and all those old run down vehicles, aka moving hazzards, rumbling around the roads? I don't even want to think about how many have no brakes or insurance. The family of 6 sitting on plastic lawn chairs in the back of a rickety (or not) pick-up truck? One old farmer's truck axle broke in two right in front of us the other day on a busy street. No one batted an eye, much less put up a safety flare. Good thing it was daylight. Just the way it is. What about the drunk drivers? Even drunk bus drivers? I have seen beer bottles roll out the bus drivers door when he parked his bus for the night in the neighborhood. They check him periodically to see if he is reporting the correct bus fares but I doubt they smell his breath.

A recent visitor, my sister, commented emphatically about the obvious lack of hard hats and safety boots on the construction sites. I gave her a strange look and she returned a rather miffed reply "well, don't they get hurt?" Where would I start? I do worry about getting a brick on the head sometimes while passing by on a sidewalk, but it is a fleeting thought. She doesn't understand how I can live here and love it, except for the "entertainment value" every day life seems to provide (her words). Again, where would I start?

Just some stuff to think about because it IS the reality of living here. I am sure others can add more.


Brian

Jul 7, 2005, 3:27 PM

Post #6 of 24 (4933 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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I think that virtually anyone who has learned to drive in Mexico is a potential hazard to others. Few have taken any kind of driver education classes. In the US, one is expected to comply with the "rules of the road" which are clearly articulated. In some sense, drivers there can have a reasonable expectation that other drivers will for example, stay on their own side of the road until it is safe to pass, not drive backwards on one-way streets, yield the right of way rather than trying to beat other drivers to the spot. Although it is a generalization, I believe that many people who learned to drive in Mexico rely more on their own reflexes to avoid accidents rather than conformity to the aforesaid rules of the road on everyone's part. Many times they do the expedient albeit more dangerous thing. If they miss a parking spot, they will abruptly backup rather than circle the block to safely find another place to park. Imprudent drivers risk their own and others lives when they pass on blind curves etc. I don't appreciate being considered a backseat driver when I complain about an unsafe passing maneuver. A laugh with the statement "No pasa nada" just doesn't get it in my book.

saludos

Brian




1ajijic


Jul 7, 2005, 3:53 PM

Post #7 of 24 (4921 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Back NOB we lived in a county that happened on the idea that building retirement communities would be cheaper than building schools for kids. We lived there ten years and later came back for a year before coming SOB. It turned out that the idea wasn't so good. The first aid squad costs were astronomical for trips to the hospital. The daily paper always had at least the report of one death involving what we called the senior citizen weapon of choice, the gold Catillac. Defensive driving was a way of life, i.e., at a light looking into the oncoming drivers' eyes to see if they knew what a light or stop sign was. Too often you saw only confusion in those eyes.

It is a real problem and one that we will be facing more and more. Fortunately here there is good public transportation, cheap taxies and kind Mexicans who will drive folks for a small sum. Now all we need is common sense
http://www.newbeginningsmexico.com


talosian


Jul 7, 2005, 4:39 PM

Post #8 of 24 (4907 views)

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Re: [1ajijic] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Defensive dirving is fine and all us NOB types should internalize that Mexicans have different training (or lack of it) than we do and drive accordingly.

But you can't "drive" a chair at an outdoor restaurant or the bench at a bus stop. When someone is simply so (use whatever term you feel is appropriate here) that everyone in sight, in or out of a car, is in danger, it's time for some proactive thinking and acting.

Can you even imagine what could have happened had some NOB Grandparents and their Grandkids been sitting at the table which this lady plowed into? Or that the Mexican woman and her baby who sit in front of El Torito asking for some charity pesos could have been between the bumper of the car and the wall.

But for the Fates, everyone apparently walked away from this one. A wake up call for the driver and her friends/family.

I say again, if you know someone who shouldn't be driving, try to help them before they hurt someone.

And finally, I absolutely do understand that sometimes the car is the only way an older person can feel they have some degree of independence and self-sufficiency, but not at the possible cost of other human lives.
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.


julietl


Jul 7, 2005, 5:01 PM

Post #9 of 24 (4896 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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My favorite is the women I see in the morning commute putting on make-up while driving. We are talking serious makeup here, not just a bit of lipstick. A whole 20 min make-over, complete with utensils, tissues and jars of goop. Of course, they have to adjust the review mirror when they do it so they have no clue what is going on around them.
The guys are usually eating their breakfast, talking on the cel phone and reading the paper, sometimes all at once.

(But I guess that's the same all over the world.)

I think the bus drivers are the worst. Personal experiences so far in Mexico City:

Last year, my friends dad was run over and killed by a bus driver running a red light. He was holding the hand of his 7 yr. old nephew at the time. The nephew wasn't hurt, thank God, but is completely traumatized.

Also last year, a bus driver ran in to a friend's car. He was in a coma for 5 months and is now in Cuba getting some intensive therapy. He will never be the same - brain damage. The bus driver was speeding down a side street and ran full force across a main arterial, again against a light.

I have seen people backing up an on-ramp to a freeway, because they took a wrong turn and didn't want to wait and get off at the next exit. I think the Mexican way is to think, "If I just turn on my hazard lights, I can do anything I want"

I can't believe some of the things I have seen here. It took me a full 6 months to get up the courage to drive in this country. When I mention drivers ed, I either get a laugh or a puzzled look.

As far as the age thing, I think it's a problem everywhere. My grandmother in the US seriously needs to stop driving her car, but so far no one has convinced her. I am afraid for her and everyone around her. Maybe you should have to get an eye and reaction-time exam every 3 years after a certain age in order to maintain your license.
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(This post was edited by julietm on Jul 7, 2005, 5:06 PM)


Adrian

Jul 7, 2005, 7:55 PM

Post #10 of 24 (4844 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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On July 1st, in another post, 'Cuerva' said...

"Why are you comparing Mexico with the United States? That's just stupid. You might as well compare it to Africa or Yugoslavia. You're going into another country with deep roots and different customs, and wanting to bring your customs there and shove them down people's throats. That's what people resent. The whole world hates the United States because of this behavior."

<devil's advocate>
And here we are decrying a lack of 'safety awareness' in Mexican driving. Are we not simply taking our customs of road safety and trying to
"shove them down people's throats"...
</da>

My favourite 'bad driving experience' was the taxi driver who, in order to pass the burro on his right, the bus in front of him and the other taxi passing that bus, simply ran up the shoulder on the other side of the road, engine redline-screaming in 2nd gear, for about 100 yards.

But seriously, I do believe that neither the bus drivers nor the truck drivers have any kind of formal training or testing. I hate being anywhere near a Pemex doble-remolque tanker - that many thousands of gallons of combustibility with the possibility of a drunken rookie at the wheel with vengeance in his heart for the unwary who stray across his path?





(This post was edited by Adrian on Jul 7, 2005, 8:01 PM)


Jerry@Ajijic

Jul 7, 2005, 8:50 PM

Post #11 of 24 (4827 views)

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Re: [Adrian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Something else that is a little different here is the lack of punishment for bad drivers. The old man that ran over my wife had run into at least 3 other people and/or things. After he ran over her, to my knowledge, he had at least 2 other accidents. In one he ran into and drug a women. She suffered very bad facial burns. He had no drivers license and no insurance. He was still driving up until the time he became sick and died. I think NOB he would have been serving time instead of still driving around.


talosian


Jul 8, 2005, 5:36 AM

Post #12 of 24 (4784 views)

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Re: [Jerry@Ajijic] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Basic rules of safety should always be cross-cultural. In the Middle-East, it's "custom" to shoot guns into the air for a celebration and every now and then, someone is injured or killed by falling bullets.

And another thing which is scary (and this is only what I have read and don't know details) is that insurance down here doesn't pay for "pain and suffering", which means if you lose an arm due to the negligent driving of another, you get your medical bills paid; maybe time off work (not for Gringos most likely) but nothing for anything else. Again, that's what I was told but if true, that's scary.

My guess would be if someone (or some group) would make some contact with the local Government officials where there is a dangerous driver, and here I'm talking about a Gringo/Gringa, something might be done on a local level. Remember, like "us" or not, NOB people put a fair amount of pesos into the local community and if "we" want, we could have some small voice which might be listened to by the local authorities. Maybe not, but it wouldn't cost to ask/try.
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.


shoe


Jul 8, 2005, 6:08 AM

Post #13 of 24 (4773 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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This rant about old people driving is not a Mexican thing. It is a anywhere thing!

Personal values and concerns that people try to impose on another country’s inhabitants are not realistic. If you do not like it in your new country, get out! Quit complaining, as life is too short.

I enjoy driving in Mexico. The area I enjoy the least driving in is the Ajijic area. I encounter more “passholes” (a term borrowed from Georgia’s husband that is self explanatory) in the Ajijic area than anywhere else. I have not yet driven in DF but I do not think that would be a problem as I drive in NYC, LA, Chicago, Paris, London, Guadalajara or any other big city without any thought of problems.

In Mexico I enjoy the ability to read the signs in the country, as they are not shot up like in rural areas NoB. I have not heard of any drive by shootings here. On a local wide two-lane road with large shoulders, people here move over for you to pass if you want. On two lane roads in Mexico they are very considerate and move to the right to make a left turn, waiting until the road is clear to do it. NoB you just turn on your turn signals, sometimes, and hold up traffic until you think you can turn. I think this is better. Signals are also used to let you know that you can pass a vehicle going slower than you. Pretty neat. I have not heard of the follow me scam (robbery) that is used in Miami here either. This is just the place for it as a lot of people are lost, me included. .

Inspections are mentioned in this thread. That would be just another form of graft available here as it is NoB. What a rip off and it does not keep the old wrecks from the streets anywhere. I have had cars that would not pass inspection in my younger days, in NY, CA and Fla (when they had a inspection) and always knew where to get a sticker with no problem. All it took was money.

Thoughts of insurance are mentioned but a lot of the same people on this board are glad of a state called South Dakota where they can register their cars without any. Wonder now it is NoB around that state and if all the people have car insurance. Gee, maybe it is the same as in Mexico. In KY you need insurance to get your plate but you can cancel it right after you get the plate, as there is no check and balance system. You can do this year after year and many do. There are other states just like this.

Please do not try to make a worldwide problem into a Mexican thing! Mexico is great.


shoe


esperanza

Jul 8, 2005, 7:20 AM

Post #14 of 24 (4746 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Talosian, where I grew up in the USA it was very common to shoot guns into the air, especially on New Year's Eve.

It's also quite common here in Mexico on certain holidays, so watch for falling bullets.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









talosian


Jul 8, 2005, 8:11 AM

Post #15 of 24 (4735 views)

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Re: [shoe] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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I'm sorry Shoe, but you lose me with you "response" because it didn't respond to the points I initially raised as the subject of this post raised.

I talk of my concern about a lot of things such as crime, pollution, etc. which are everywhere. I also "complain" about people driving who drive in such a way as to be a danger to others. As for "getting out", well, did you every complai about anything in your place of birth? Ever complain about anything in Mexico?

I never said people who are too old and/or infirm to drive was a Mexican problem and I didn't mean to make it seem that way. It is a problem anywhere when someone drives who should not, for their safety and the safety of others.

All your "rants" about life NOB, they are the same as mine and I have a few you did not mention. I moved from NOB to Lakeside because here the positive outweighs the negative and I plan on dying in Mexico; it is my home now. Hopefully I will either die of natural causes or shot at the age of 105 by a jealous husband (a little humor here). What I don't want is to die, or worse, be crippled by a car driven by someone who is not physically able to control it. Would you?

I do however thank you for your thoughts and input.
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.


sfmacaws


Jul 8, 2005, 6:19 PM

Post #16 of 24 (4663 views)

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Re: [talosian] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Quote
And another thing which is scary (and this is only what I have read and don't know details) is that insurance down here doesn't pay for "pain and suffering", which means if you lose an arm due to the negligent driving of another, you get your medical bills paid; maybe time off work (not for Gringos most likely) but nothing for anything else. Again, that's what I was told but if true, that's scary.


That's something I very much appreciate about Mexico. It is also the thing that has done an enormous damage to the quality of life in the US. The ability to sue for invisible damages raises the value of the lawsuits enormously, puts a huge pile of money in the hands of the lawyer, puts even more money in the hands of the insurance companies and does very little relatively for the actual person injured. It costs everyone in money, in freedom from stupid laws, and in aggravation. Think millions for hot coffee in the lap at McDonalds. I certainly hope Mexico never starts down that road.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Marlene


Jul 8, 2005, 6:52 PM

Post #17 of 24 (4651 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Quote
I certainly hope Mexico never starts down that road.


You are not alone with that thought.


talosian


Jul 8, 2005, 6:56 PM

Post #18 of 24 (4650 views)

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Basically I agree, however,

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if you lose an arm and you are a paperhanger, don't you deserve more than your medical bills? But then maybe Mexico allows "loss of future earinigs." I do agree that "pain and suffering" can get out of hand though there should be some degree of compensation for the enotional distress someone may go thruogh due to the negligence of another.

Tort reform has been tried over the years but the trial lawyers of America have pretty much blocked it. Like a lot of things, that's just ain't ah gonna change if and until people in large numbers demand their legislators do something about it.
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.


sfmacaws


Jul 8, 2005, 7:52 PM

Post #19 of 24 (4637 views)

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Re: [talosian] Basically I agree, however,

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Life is not fair. It's a concept that has slipped away in many western countries that try to legislate fairness into life whether possible or not.

Mexico and its people have been much closer to the realities of life and death and the unfairness of some of it for a long time. I don't know if it goes back as far as the Maya and Aztec with their pre-ordained view of the world or if it also relates to the spanish/catholic influence which puts much more weight on divine intervention than that old protestant work ethic. Whatever, there is less urgency to 'fix' everything through laws or govt and the result is a much more relaxed environment. Yeah, bad things happen to good people. That's what family and friends are for no?


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Marta R

Jul 8, 2005, 9:51 PM

Post #20 of 24 (4619 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Quote
Think millions for hot coffee in the lap at McDonalds.


This has become one of the most pernicious of modern urban myths. It would be a great public service if we all learned more about the case: http://www.answers.com/...donald-s-coffee-case (or just Google "McDonalds coffee million dollars"). There are undoubted problems with American jurisprudence. The McDonald's case is not an illustration of them.

I suspect that one of the things that may insulate Mexico from becoming the lawsuit-happy cesspool that we tend to see north of the border, is that Mexico as a whole has more of a sense of responsibility to its citizens. In the US, if you end up in the position of the 81-year-old McDonald's plaintiff, you're pretty much SOL and have to file suit to get some help.

Marta


sfmacaws


Jul 8, 2005, 10:18 PM

Post #21 of 24 (4613 views)

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Re: [chrisnmarta] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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OK, here's another example that I know is true. It's from my old home town and near yours as well I believe. It's funny except that it happened and the money was paid. A person fell off a cable car, claimed she became a nymphomaniac from the fall, sued the City of San Francisco and won more than a million.

There are a lot more examples.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Marta R

Jul 8, 2005, 10:47 PM

Post #22 of 24 (4610 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Oh yeah, Melvin Belli in all his litigious glory, I believe. Still, he and his client managed to convince 12 jurors that the cable car accident did indeed cause her to make whoopie 50 times a day (with 50 different gentlemen? I can't remember if that was or wasn't part of the equation). She got all of $50,000 -- but that was in 1964 US dollars.

Are we getting far afield from dangerous doddering old folk in Mexico? Probably we should behave ourselves before we are Reprimanded.

Marta


gpk

Jul 9, 2005, 3:36 PM

Post #23 of 24 (4546 views)

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Re: [chrisnmarta] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Mexico has no jury system--maybe that is the problem in the US leal system. Mexico needs tort reform, also. A newspaper story last year reported an accident in Leon, Gto. where the family of a deceased pedestrian got 20,000 pesos and the owner of another car damaged in the accident got 50,000 pesos.


Elaine


Jul 10, 2005, 9:18 AM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] People who shouldn't drive. Any real answer?

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Sounds like your Dad and my mother-in-law went to the same school. My mother-in-law's vision got so bad that she could not watch the TV but still drove around town. Wanted my son to spend the night and go out to dinner with her. I told my husband that there was no way that she was going to drive my son anywhere. End result was that I was considered a real witch and my husband's family barely admit that I'm alive. My husband backs me up, bless his little heart, but I'm not even welcomed in his sister's house. No big loss, believe me, actually a relief, I dislike being around people who think they are better than anyone else. Funny thing, my mother-in-law got so mad at us that she decided to move down close to my husband's sister near Houston. Texas refused to give her a driver's license. The real kicker is that my mother-in-law was a nurse for 40 years or more and it would have just killed her if she had hit a child running across a street. Even if the child had not been hurt badly, she would never have forgiven herself.

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When one door closes, another opens. Some people are so busy looking at the door that has closed, they don't see the door that has opened. Keep looking for those open doors.
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