Drivers Who No Longer Have the Skill to Drive Safely


Can DMV reexamine a driver who does not have a medical problem but whose driving skills are nevertheless deteriorating?

Yes. DMV can reexamine a driver when information suggests they no longer have the knowledge and/or skill necessary to drive safely. Such reexaminations are based on information received from peace officers, physicians, family members, relatives, acquaintances or other persons that state specific observations relating to the person's potential ability to drive safely. Information pertaining solely to the age of the individual is not, in itself, considered relevant, nor will DMV reexamine a driver solely on the basis of his or her age.

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Does DMV automatically reexamine drivers of a certain age?

No, a person's age, in and of itself, is not a sufficient basis for reexamination.

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What happens at a reexamination?

At a reexamination, a Driver Safety Hearing Officer may ask you a wide range of questions about your driving history and about specific incidents on your driving record, as well as question about your health and medical history, and questions about the rules of the road and how you would handle specific driving situations. You may be asked to provide medical reports from your physician, medical records, or similar documents. All information concerning your health and medical history are confidential by law, and the department cannot divulge this information to any outside party.

The Driver Safety Hearing Officer may require you to submit to a vision test, a written test of your knowledge of the rules of the road, and a drive test. If a drive test is required, you will be scheduled for a separate drive test appointment. When taking a drive test, your must provide a vehicle in which to take the test. You must present acceptable proof of financial responsibility (automobile insurance) in effect at the time of the drive test.

Following the reexamination, the Driver Safety Hearing Officer decides whether any action should be taken against the person's driving privilege in the interest of public safety. If so, such action may be a restriction, probation, suspension, or revocation of the driving privilege. The driver is notified in writing of the action and usually would have the right to a hearing to contest the action if they believe it is unjustified.

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What happens if I do not appear for the reexamination? Can I send an attorney or family member on my behalf to represent me?

If you do not appear for the reexamination as scheduled, your driving privilege will be suspended pursuant to law (Vehicle Code Section 13801) until such time as you do appear and complete the reexamination. You may not send another person as your proxy or substitute to the reexamination, although you may have someone accompany you to the reexamination if you wish.

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If my driving privilege is suspended or revoked following a reexamination, how long will I be unable to drive?

It depends on several factors. Generally, the length of such a suspension or revocation is indefinite. However, DMV may consider reinstating your driving privilege under various circumstances. If the suspension is due to a medical condition or disorder, DMV will consider reinstatement of your driving privilege when you are able to show that the condition or disorder has been controlled, and is no longer a potential threat to your ability to drive safely. If the condition is static in nature (such as partial paralysis or vision loss from a stroke), you may be able to show that you have learned to compensate for the condition, which would allow the DMV to consider reinstatement.