I don't think my elderly father is fit to drive anymore

Dear Consumer Ed:

My father is 87 years old, and I don’t believe he should be driving any longer.  I’ve told him that I’m afraid he’s going to hurt himself or someone else, but he just gets angry and refuses to discuss it. Short of stealing his car keys or becoming his legal guardian (which I am not interested in doing), is there anything I can do to prevent him from driving?    

Consumer Ed says: 

According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (“DDS”), if a relative, court, law enforcement officer, judge, doctor, or citizen has concerns about the diminished driving ability of a license holder, he or she may request that DDS review the situation. Requests can be made in the form of written correspondence or completion of the Request for Medical Review (DDS 270), which can be found on the DDS website at www.dds.georgia.gov/documents/request-driver-review.  The individual submitting the form is required to identify him or herself; however, if you have concerns about possible repercussions should the driver learn who submitted the request, you may ask DDS not to disclose your identity.  DDS will honor confidentiality to the fullest extent possible.

When DDS receives written correspondence, either in the form of a letter or the Request for Driver Review, from a relative, court, law enforcement officer, judge, doctor, or concerned citizen pertaining to the diminished driving ability of a license holder, the following process takes place:

  1. DDS sends the Medical Form (DS-287) and/or Vision Form (DS-274) to the driver. The medical form must be completed and submitted to the DDS by a licensed physician familiar enough with the driver’s medical history to address the area(s) of concern. If the driver fails to comply within a 30-day period, he will receive a revocation notice. The notice informs him that his driving privileges will be revoked in 30 days for medical reasons. It also states that he may request a Hearing within 15 days of receiving the notice.
  2. If the Medical Evaluation signed by the doctor clears the driver, DDS clears the driving record of any notation relating to the original medical request, no action is taken and no changes are made to his driving privileges.
  3. If the driver has been advised that he must retest and he fails to do so within the allotted period of time, then his driver’s license will be revoked.
  4. If after the person’s license is revoked, he is later cleared to drive, but is still required to retake the Knowledge and Road Tests, DDS sends the person a letter informing him that he should visit a Customer Service Center to get retested.
  5. If DDS receives conflicting medical reports from multiple doctors, DDS refers the person’s file to the DDS Medical Advisory Board. The Board then makes a recommendation to DDS. DDS will render the final decision that determines whether the person is fit to drive.

Many doctors rely on detailed feedback from a certified driver rehabilitation specialist to help determine whether or not a person is fit to drive. The specialist offers a clinical and behind-the-wheel assessment of driving skills. This includes a review of recommendations with the driver and caregivers.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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