Why Routine Testing for Drivers Licences Makes Sense

by Jessame Hannus

I support the push for the DMV to reassess their approach to license renewals and would like to see more aggressive testing for all drivers regardless of age. As an Insurance Broker I have to do 15 credits of continuing education every two years, and selling insurance is not life or death, so it seems irresponsible on the part of the state to allow drivers to renew their licenses without periodic testing and reeducation. Age and Health seem like to aspects of one’s ability to drive that might be a good place to start this conversation.

On a personal note: no one realized my grandmother was having trouble seeing until she got lost driving home one night. She knew she couldn’t see well, but didn’t tell anyone. Once we found out she had advanced macular degeneration she did lose her license, but luckily she didn’t hurt anyone before that happened. But that is not the only health-related driving story I have. A friend of my mother had surgery for a brain tumor and had been told she might have seizures, but she drove anyway. She had one while driving her truck with her dog in the back. She hit and killed a pedestrian and her dog was thrown from the truck and also died.

These two people who were good people, yet both chose to drive when they presented a danger to others. I think even just having a conversation about changing testing requirements could put the topic into people’s minds so they are less likely to make the decision to drive when it’s dangerous.

One thought on “Why Routine Testing for Drivers Licences Makes Sense

  1. I am not sure if my reply got posted, forgive me if this is a repeat. Roz

    Friends don’t let friends drive drunk and friends don’t let friends drive impaired. If talking to the impaired driver fails, NYS DMV has a provision for concerned persons to report dangerous drivers and thereby force medical review and / or retesting.. Reporters must identify themselves, but they will not be identified to the individual. Use NYS DMV Form DS-7: https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/ds7.pdf
    Be as specific as possible, but do not allude to the fact that the person is old (they regard that as illegal.) DMV promises to take action, but don’t expect it to be quick. I am a CDRS (Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist) and perform driver competency evaluations. The last person that came to me from this DMV route was reported for an incident in December and he got to me the following June.

    The present capacity for performing re-evaluations is insufficient to support universal re-testing. My evaluation takes 4 hours and the individual must pay my $400. fee. There are 15 CDRSs in NY State and I am the only one in the metro NYC area. Rather than evaluate everyone, it makes better sense to evaluate those persons about whom concerns are raised.

    The road test given by DMV is not appropriate for experienced drivers (who know how to operate a car, but might not do it safely.). Otherwise, on-road observations are rarely standardized and validated, hence only impressions and not tests.

    NYS does incentivize all drivers to have a 6 hour driver safety course every 3 years. It can be done on-line or in classes. The AARP classes (full disclosure, I teach this in Bellerose each month.) are least expensive – $20. for members, $25. and you don’t have to be old to take it. The insurance rebate amounts to about $400. (over the three years).

    In my class, I include material about Vision Zero, and, of course, transportation alternatives including biking.


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