Driver Screening and Evaluation Program
Volume III: Guidelines for Motor Vehicle Administrators
Responsibility for driver licensing control resides with the department authorized to issue licenses. State statutes and departmental regulations provide the legal framework for establishing the licensing standards necessary to discharge this responsibility. In driver licensing, the standards guide the department in deciding if an applicant has the qualifications to operate a motor vehicle. In developing the licensing standards, the department must take into consideration the need to protect the public from unsafe drivers. This need is reflected in the licensing standards that enable the department to reject the applicant who fails to meet those standards and is considered as not qualified to drive a motor vehicle.
If an applicant meets the standards that have been set, the department would issue a license to drive such that person clearly is qualified. On the other hand, should an applicant with a physical or mental limitation (handicap) be granted a license if his/her qualifications are acceptable except for failing to meet the standards relating to his/her limitation (handicap)? What are the standards that determine whether a limitation prevents the safe operation of a motor vehicle? The following laws are taken from Chapter 6- Drivers' Licenses, of the Uniform Vehicle Code (National Committee on Uniform Traffic laws and Ordinances, 2000).
The department is authorized to gather information believed necessary for determining applicant competency as set for forth in UVC §6-107(b) -Application for License or Instructional Permit:
(b) Every application shall state the applicant's full name, date, place of birth, sex and residence address of the applicant, and briefly describe the applicant. It also shall state whether the applicant has been licensed as a driver, and if so, when and by what state or country; whether any such license has ever been suspended or revoked, and if so, when and by what state or country; and whether an application has ever been refused; and if so, the date of and reason for such refusal; and such other information as the department may require to determine the applicant's identity, competency and eligibility.
The department's evaluation of the qualifications of an original applicant is normally based on the results of the examinations required under UVC §6-110(a) -Examination of Applicants:
(a) The department shall examine every applicant for a driver's license. Such examination shall include a test of the applicant's eyesight, ability to read and understand official traffic control devices, knowledge of safe driving practices and the traffic laws of this State, and shall include an actual demonstration of ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a vehicle or combination of vehicles of the type covered by the license classification or endorsement which the applicant is seeking. The examination may also include such further physical and mental examinations as the department finds necessary to determine the applicant's fitness to operate a motor vehicle safely upon the highways.
The department may disqualify persons with limitations under UVC §6-l 03(b)3./4./6.:
(b) Ineligibility- The department shall not issue any driver's license to, nor renew the driver's license of, any person:
3). Who is an habitual user of alcohol or any drug to a degree rendering such person incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle;
4). Who has previously been adjudged to be afflicted with or suffering from any mental disability or disease and who has not at the time of application been restored to competency by the methods provided by law;
6). When the commissioner has good cause to believe that such person by reason of physical or mental disability would not be able to operate a motor vehicle safely.
The department is authorized to reexamine any licensed driver prior to renewal prescribed under UVC §6-110 (relating to original applicants) under UVC §6-116(b) -Expiration and renewal of license; reexamination required:
(b) The department shall require every person applying for renewal of a driver's license to take and successfully pass a test of eyesight and knowledge of the traffic laws of this State. The department may require any applicant to take and successfully pass such additional tests as the department may find reasonably necessary to determine the applicant's qualification according to the class of license or license endorsement applied for, and the examination may include any or all of the other tests required or authorized upon original application by § 6-110.
The Code places the responsibility for defining disorders and disabilities with the State medical agency or Medical Advisory Board under UVC §6-120(a) -Reports by physicians and vision specialists (ophthalmologists and optometrists):
(a) The (State department of health) shall define disorders characterized by lapses of consciousness or other mental or physical disabilities affecting the ability of a person to drive safely for the purpose of the reports required by this section.
Physicians are required to submit reports to the department of persons suffering from disabilities that could impair their ability to operate a motor vehicle under UVC §6-120(b)(c) -Reports by physicians and vision specialists (ophthalmologists and optometrists):
(b) All physicians and other persons authorized to diagnose or treat disorders and disabilities defined by the (State department of health) shall report to that department, in writing, the full name, date of birth and address of every person over 15 years of age diagnosed as having any such specified disorder or disability within 10 days.
c) The (State department of health) shall report to the department the names, dates of birth and addresses of all persons reported as having any such specified disorder or disability.
Reports required by physicians are confidential as prescribed under UVC §6-l20(d)(e) -Reports by physicians and vision specialists (ophthalmologists and optometrists):
(d) The reports required by this section shall be confidential and shall be used solely for the purpose of determining the qualifications of any person to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of this State. No civil or criminal action may be brought against any person or agency who provides the required information.
(e) No report forwarded under the provisions of this section shall be used as evidence in any civil or criminal trial nor in any proceeding under § 6-219.
Medical Advisory Boards are authorized to assist the licensing agency under UVC §6-119(a) -Health advisory board:
(a) There shall be a health advisory board consisting of ___members appointed by the commissioner with the assistance of the (State department of public health).
Medical Advisory Boards will have the function of advising the commissioner of motor vehicles with respect to medical criteria and vision standards for driver licensing under UVC §6-119(b) -Health advisory board:
(b) The board shall advise the commissioner on medical criteria and vision standards relating to the licensing of drivers under the provisions of this chapter.
Although the department has the final authority on deciding if a license should be issued, the report of the Medical Advisory Board will be the determining factor. The authority for the department to obtain the advice is UVC 6-119(c) -Health advisory board:
(c) The department, having cause to believe that a licensed driver or applicant may not be physically or mentally qualified to be licensed, may obtain the advice of the board. The board may formulate its advice from records and reports or may require an examination and report to be made by one or more members of the board or any other qualified person it may designate. The licensed driver or applicant may have a written report forwarded to the board by a physician of driver or applicant's choice, and it shall be given due consideration by the board.
Members of the Medical Advisory Board are not liable for their performance under UVC 6-119(d) -Health advisory board:
(d) Members of the board and other persons making examinations shall not be held liable for their opinions and recommendations presented pursuant to subsection (c).
Reports received or made by the board, or its members, are confidential UVC 6-119(e) -Health advisory board:
(e) Reports received or made by the board, or its members, for the purpose of assisting the department in determining whether a person is qualified to be licensed are for the confidential use of the board or the department and may not be divulged to any person or used as evidence in any trial, except that the reports may be admitted in proceedings under § 6-212 and § 6-219, and any person conducting an examination pursuant to subsection (c) may be compelled to testify concerning such person's observations and findings in such proceedings.
The department is authorized to reexamine any licensee whenever there is cause to believe that the licensee is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to drive under UVC6-209(a) -Department may require reexamination:
The department, having good cause to believe that a licensed driver is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to be licensed, may upon at least five-days written notice to the licensee, require such person to submit to an examination. Upon the conclusion of such examination, the department shall take action as may be appropriate and may suspend or revoke the license of such person or permit such person to retain such license, or issue a license subject to restrictions as to the type or class of vehicles that may be driven. Refusal or neglect of the licensee to submit to such examination shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of such person's license.
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