How to stop your elderly relative from driving dangerously in NJ

How to stop your elderly relative from driving dangerously in NJ

🚘 How to report a dangerous older driver in New Jersey🚘 There’s a special unit that can test them and take them off the road🚘 The MVC says it’s a big step, but taking away a license may be necessary for safety

What happens if an elderly parent, family member or friend suddenly seems to have difficulty driving, what are the options and what should you do?

There is no law in New Jersey that requires drivers who reach a certain age to be retested, but there is a system in place to deal with these types of problems, issues and concerns.

According to William Connolly, spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, there is a medical review process to identify drivers when they have a medical condition or if they exhibit any worrisome behavior or show signs of impairment while behind the wheel.

The MVC medical review unit will look into it

He said the MVC’s medical review unit accepts, screens and files cases based on referrals from family members, friends, doctors, law enforcement, courts, social workers and other sources.

“If we get a referral where someone is concerned, we start working on that case,” he said.

How does the process work?

He said once a report is received on a driver, medical forms will be mailed to the driver for completion, and the driver has 45 days to complete the forms and return them to MVC.

Senior man hand detail while driving a car. Soft focus. Vintage tone.

Daviles ThinkStock

He said if the forms are not returned, the license will be suspended.

Connolly said once the forms are filled out, they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“Many times drivers are cleared, we get feedback from the doctor that there is no concern, other possibilities are that the license can be suspended depending on the feedback from the doctor, or we can send the driver for re-examination or re-testing,” he said. he said.

“This can include either the written test, the vision test or the road test for driving,” he said.

He said the MVC wants to make sure when there are questions, all drivers have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can still drive a motor vehicle safely.

Drivers are given a fair chance to prove they are competent

“When you go through this process for re-examination, a driver is given three attempts to pass each part of the test,” he said.

“If we get a referral to our medical review unit, it doesn’t mean your license is automatically suspended. What this means is that our staff will work with managers, doctors and other experts to determine the appropriate course of action.”

Connolly said MVC understands this is a serious issue because not being able to drive is a big step, but we need to keep the big picture in mind: “The safety of our roads depends on safe, skilled and having competent managers.”

He emphasized that if necessary, drivers will be taken off the road.

Car accident involving two cars on a city street

RobertCrum GettyImages Safety must come first

“A big part of road safety is having drivers who have the ability to operate a vehicle safely,” he said.

He added that drivers should be aware of their own ability to drive and if there are concerns, there should be discussions with family members and their doctor.

To find out how to make a referral to the medical unit, you can find information here, or call 609-292-7500, ext. 5032.

Connolly stressed the medical review unit cannot and will not accept anonymous reports about a driver.

According to the MVC, any of the following can cause a safety issue:

⚫ Disobey traffic signals or motor vehicle laws

⚫ Drive too slowly

⚫ Multiple accidents or “close calls”

⚫ Inability to read signs

⚫ Fear or nervousness related to driving

⚫ Vehicle has multiple signs of unexplained damage (dents, scratches, missing
side mirrors/parts

Signs of impairment may include:

⚫ Confusion

⚫ Disorientation

⚫ Memory loss or decay

⚫ Impaired or altered consciousness

⚫ Alzheimer’s or dementia

⚫ Neurological conditions such as seizure or blackout disorders and/or

⚫ Sleep disorders (sleep apnea)

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction to this story.

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