Sunday, May 6, 2007

Driver Re-Examination

Is there a way to get unsafe drivers off the road? Yes!

A seldom-used provision of the Illinois Vehicle Code allows a police officer to cite a driver for re-examination, when he believes the driver may not be entitled to hold a driver’s license.

When should it be applied?

This morning I observed an elderly man leaving the driver’s seat of a minivan parked in front of a local church. The man’s mobility was so impaired that he could not walk without holding onto the side of the vehicle. As he moved forward, he could move his feet only in short, unsteady steps.

How might this affect his driving?

If he were driving his vehicle, I would expect that he would have great difficulty in pressing the accelerator gently with his foot and then have even greater difficulty in quickly moving his foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal for an emergency stop.

Panic might also set in, if he accidentally pressed on the accelerator and did not quickly comprehend what was causing the vehicle to increase its forward speed. In the time it would take to understand and react, an elderly driver might enter an intersection against a red light, drive across a crosswalk and hit pedestrians, fail to stop for a school bus - - - you name it.

Keeping one’s driver’s license is very important, but the ability (and confidence) to operate a motor vehicle safely is even more important.

When I was teaching the AARP Driver Safety Program, I joked with each class that, when I am too old to drive my car safely, I hope I’ll still be able to ride my motorcycle!

Information about driver re-examination is available from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. Call (800) 252-8980.

1 comment:

pryan67 said...

One thing to keep in mind though is that many handicaped people have steering wheel mounted controls...accelerator, brake, etc...that may be the case (but I tend to doubt it due to the expense)