Although Americans are living considerably longer, on average, than their ancestors did a century ago, the natural aging process does still hit all of us eventually. As a result, most of us will notice physical and/or mental deterioration the older we get. One of the areas of your life that might be impacted by that deterioration is your ability to drive. In fact, the State of New York could revoke your driving privileges after a driver re-evaluation process. To ensure that you know where you stand with regard to your driving privileges, the Hauppauge elder law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia explain the State of New York driver re-evaluation process.
The New York Driver Re-Evaluation Program
Because both physical and mental deterioration can cause older drivers to become a risk to themselves and to others on the roadways, many states have implemented motor vehicle laws and driver license procedures aimed specifically at older drivers. The good news for New York residents is that the state has not designated a specific age at which you must re-test or give up your driving privileges. Instead, the state has a driver “re-evaluation” program that allows the state to require a driver to prove his/her ability to safely operate a vehicle only if that ability has been called into question. Specifically, New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 506 (1) states that: “If the Commissioner has “reasonable grounds” to believe that a person holding a license is not qualified to drive a motor vehicle, the Commissioner may require such person submit to an examination to determine their qualifications.”
What Are “Reasonable Grounds” That Might Prompt an Examination?
“Reasonable grounds” means that the DMV must have a “specific reason” related to driving performance why a driver needs to be contacted for a driving re-evaluation. A “specific reason” is a driving incident, behavior, action or other cause reported to the DMV by a physician, a police officer, or someone who knows or has observed the driver. A request might be sent in by a police officer, a physician, or a “concerned citizen.”
What Happens after a Request Is Received?
The Medical Review Unit forwards the form to the DMV Testing and Investigation Unit in the area where the driver resides. A license examiner from the DMV Testing and Investigation Unit reviews the form to determine if there is a reason to re-evaluate the driver. If the examiner determines that there is a valid reason, the DMV examiner sends the driver a certified letter to request that the driver come to the DMV office for an interview. The letter explains the reason for the interview and informs the driver of the items and information to bring to the interview. The letter also advises the driver that a vision test is required which may be taken at the interview or you can bring a Vision Test Report form completed by a vision care professional. You may also be required to bring a Physicians Statement, a registered vehicle, and a licensed driver.
NOTE: If you fail to show for the examination the DMV will suspend your driver license.
What Happens at the Examination?
The DMV license examiner explains the information that was received and allows the driver to respond to the information. The examiner will review the Physicians Statement if one was required. If you were required to bring one and failed to do so, your license will be suspended until you submit the form. If the Physicians Statement indicates that you are not medically fit to drive, your driver’s license will be suspended. If the examiner deems it necessary, you may be required to take a road sign/written test and a driving skills test. If you fail the vision test or the road sign/written test, the DMV suspends your license until you can pass the required test. If you are required to take the road test, it is the same one people take when they first get a license. If you fail the driving test, the DMV will immediately revoke your driver license.
If My License Is Revoked Can I Ever Get It Back?
If your license is revoked as a result of the re-evaluation process you can apply to get your driving privileges back; however, you must wait at least 30 days before you can re-apply for a driver license. To get your license back you will need to:
- apply for a Learner Permit at your local DMV Office (written test is waived)
- pass a vision test
- take a 5-hour pre-licensing course
- pass a road test
If you qualify and pass the road test, the DMV issues a new driver license but you will be on probation for six months from the date of the road test.
Contact Hauppauge Elder Law Attorneys
Please feel free to download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact the Hauppauge elder law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.