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LEGAL MATTERS: Driver Re-Evaluation Program

By Kathleen G. Moriarty, Peters & Moriarty, Attorneys and Counselors of Law

Legal Matters is a regular column intended to address general legal concerns. Since every client walks in the door with a different set of circumstances, you should not rely on this column to provide specific legal advice. If you are in need of specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney; he or she will provide advice that is unique and tailored to your legal needs.

This week’s column addresses a reader’s request for information about New York’s driver re-valuation policy. This is sometimes a controversial and emotional subject; no one wants unsafe drivers on the road, but it’s difficult to ask a person to relinquish his independence.

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.”

The DMV must have a “specific reason” why a person’s driving qualifications need to be re-evaluated. This may include 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 concerned person (police officer, physician or other) will find re-evaluation request forms on the DMV website. Once received, the DMV will review the request and determine whether a re-evaluation is necessary. If there is a valid reason to re-evaluate the driver, DMV will send a certified letter to the driver to schedule an interview.

DMV may require a vision screening, road test or an examination by a medical professional, including a review of medications and an assessment of the driver’s body control and mental awareness. Drivers may also be re-evaluated if they are involved in three or more accidents in an eighteen-month period.

Although DMV may suspend the person’s license, the revocation is not necessarily permanent. A driver may reapply for her license after 30 days; it will be reinstated if the reasons for the revocation have been addressed.

Without question, this is a discussion that should be approached sensitively and with compassion — but it is a necessary one where there is a valid concern.

For more information, please visit the DMV website at http://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/dmv-driver-re-evaluation.

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