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Driver Safety Information Medical Conditions and Traffic Safety

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Driver Safety Information Medical Conditions and Traffic Safety

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What can DMV do about a person who may be unable to drive safely due to a physical or mental condition or disorder?

California law (Vehicle Code Sections 13800, 13801) permits DMV to investigate and reexamine a person's ability to safely drive a motor vehicle for a variety of reasons, including information coming to the department's attention that a person has a physical or mental disorder that may affect his or her ability to drive safely.

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What types of medical conditions can affect a person's ability to drive safely?

Any disorder or condition that might interfere with the alertness, strength, physical coordination, agility, judgment, attention, knowledge, or skill necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle, is a concern to DMV.

Such conditions may be static (unchanging), such as the residual effects of a single stroke, or chronic, such as an uncontrolled seizure disorder or diabetic condition. It may be a progressive condition which gradually deteriorates over time, such as Alzheimer's disease or other form of dementia.

These are only a few examples of the many different kinds of physical or mental conditions or disorders that might cause DMV to reexamine a driver.

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How does DMV find out about persons who may be unsafe to drive due to a physical or mental condition or disorder?

DMV receives information from many sources, including law enforcement, physicians and surgeons, judges, family members and acquaintances. Under the law, peace officers have the discretion to request a reexamination of any driver with whom they come in contact, if they observe or discover reasons to believe the person may be unable to drive safely. Court judges have similar discretion.

The law also requires physicians and surgeons to report to the local health officer certain conditions or disorders, and gives them discretion to report other conditions. These reports are forwarded to the DMV. DMV may consider information from any source when deciding whether to investigate or reexamine a person's driving qualifications. This includes information from a person's family members, relatives and acquaintances.

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How do I let DMV know about a family member, relative or acquaintance whom I believe may no longer be a safe driver?

You may request that the DMV review his or her driving qualifications by completing a Request for Driver Reexamination (form DS 699) or writing to your local Driver Safety Office.

Provide the full name of the driver, his or her driver license number (if you can obtain it), his or her date of birth, his or her current address, and a detailed description of the facts you have observed which lead you to believe that the person may be unable to drive safely.

You may ask to keep your name confidential and DMV will attempt not to disclose your identity to the fullest extent possible. However, you must identify yourself in the letter, as DMV will not act upon anonymous referrals. We understand that reporting someone, especially a patient, relative, or close friend, is a sensitive issue and DMV does not want to harm your relationship with that person. However, we also want to make sure that potentially unsafe drivers are evaluated. All records received by DMV which report a physical or mental condition are confidential and cannot be made public (VC§1808.5). The letter will be evaluated by Driver Safety to decide whether the person whould have his or her driving qualifications reexamined.

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What types of medical conditions must a physician report to DMV?

Physicians are required by law (Heath & Safety Code Section 103900) to report disorders characterized by lapses of consciousness, as well as Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. Additionally, they may report any other condition if they believe it would affect the driver's ability to drive safely.

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