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DMV Justice - Motor Vehicle Re-Examination Process

What can you do when hit and seriously injured by a motorist you believe should not be driving due to age or a mental or physical disability in order to protect others using the roads in the future? Or, do you have a family member or friend suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dementia or other condition that impairs their ability to drive and you fear for their safety as well as others?

Following a fatal or serious injury accident, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has authority to investigate and require a re-examination to determine whether the negligent driver’s driving privileges should be revoked, suspended, restricted or placed on probation.[1] The DMV can also schedule a re-examination if information suggests that the motorist no longer has the knowledge and/or skill necessary to drive safely.

Re-examinations by the DMV can be initiated by unsolicited letters from family members, friends, or neighbors who report that the driver may no longer be able to drive safely (include photos of the injuries and copies of the medical bills or records, including the police report with a driver’s license number, to prove you’re writing about a serious case). Once the DMV is made aware of a motorist who may be a potential driving risk, it may do one of the following:

  • Request medical information from the driver
  • Conduct a “regular” examination
  • Conduct a “priority” re-examination with a hearing within five days
  • Immediately suspend or revoke the driving privilege if the motorist’s condition presents an immediate threat to public safety. (This happens frequently)

In a recent case I handled, the bicyclist was hit by an elderly (86 years) woman and sustained severe injuries requiring surgery and several days in the hospital. I wrote a letter to the local DMV and prepared a package of information documenting the elderly woman’s negligence and the severe injuries sustained by my client. This package included the police report, witness statements, medical documentation, and photos of my client in the hospital bed hooked up to medical support devices.

This action resulted in the elderly woman’s driving privileges being revoked. Besides the civil money settlement, taking the incompetent driver off the road gave my injured client justice! My client was elated that there would be one less incompetent driver on the roads, thus making the roads just a little bit safer for bicyclists like you and me.

[1] The California Code of Regulations (CCR) §100.01 and the California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§12818, 13800 and 13801, govern Driver Safety re-examinations conducted by the DMV. See also the DMV website at www.cmv.ca.gov.