As drivers, we all have seen many other drivers that we feel shouldn't be on the road, but do we know what, if anything, can be done to get that driver re-tested to be sure he/she is capable of continuing to drive? This problem may surface with a close relative that we may feel has lost his or her ability to drive safely, but not necessarily.
According to Department of Motor Vehicle procedures, re-examination may be required if the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a person holding a valid license is not qualified to drive a motor vehicle. Re-examinations may be required if:
There have been three or more reportable accidents within an 18-month period. A reportable accident is any accident occurring in state causing a fatality, personal injury or damage over $1,000 to the property of any one person.
A driver has a disability that might affect their driving ability. This is usually initiated by a complaint from the police or general public.
There are reasonable grounds again, normally initiated by the police or general public.
There is a request made by an Administrative Law Judge when there is doubt as to the driver's driving ability or physical condition.
When any of the above occurs, the driver is sent a letter from the DMV requesting an interview. At the interview, it is determined which requirements, if any, must be met, such as a vision test, written test, or a driving ability test.
Physicians normally report anyone that they feel should not be driving a vehicle to the DMV Medical Review Unit. If a physician does so, the individual license is suspended until such a time as they can supply a letter from a physician stating that, in their opinion, the person is no longer a threat to one's safety on the highway.
As noted above, as per DMV procedures, the general public can report someone they feel shouldn't be driving. If they wish to do so, they should notify, in writing, the Medical Review Unit of DMV, 6 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12228. The letter should provide information as to why the named person should not be driving. DMV wouldn't just suspend or revoke a person's license without confirmation. This action would, however, trigger a review by the DMV road test examiner. If this route is taken, it becomes public knowledge, and the person so reported can find out who reported them through the "freedom of information law". This is good, because otherwise, a lot of bitter people would have a field day.
Older drivers sense when they should limit their trips
Information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an excellent source of driving safety information, say older drivers often perceive changes in their ability to drive and voluntarily limit their driving in response. These changes include avoiding driving on busy roads, at rush hour, in bad weather, and often at night.
The IIHS reports that older drivers tend to crash more often than middle-age drivers. However, crash rates, which have been dropping overall, have dropped off more among older drivers than they have among younger adults, according to the IIHS. The reasons aren't completely clear, but the tendency of older people to restrict their driving is thought to play a significant role.
For more information on traffic safety, go to Franklin County TSB at www.franklincony.org and under departments, click on Traffic Safety Board.