DMV Re-evaluation of Driver Skills and Abilities
DMV does not re-evaluate driver skills and abilities based only on the age of the driver. Age alone is not a good indicator of driving ability. The best indicator of driving skills and abilities is the performance of the driver on the highway.
Two of the most important performance abilities for drivers of all ages are the ability to see hazards clearly and the ability to respond quickly to changes in driving conditions. Both of these abilities can decrease to a large degree in older drivers.
For the benefit of highway safety, the NYS DMV can require an evaluation of a driver whose skills and abilities are in doubt. The DMV will examine reliably reported information to determine if a driver needs to be re-evaluated.
Below are questions and answers about the NYS DMV driver re-evaluation program.
What is the purpose of the driver re-evaluation program?
The purpose of the driver re-evaluation program is to allow a driver to demonstrate that the driver is qualified to drive. The purpose of the program is not to remove driving privileges based on age or based on any standard except driving performance.
When can a driver be re-evaluated?
NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 506 (1) states that: "If the Commissioner has "reasonable grounds" to believe that a person holding a license is not qualified to drive a motor vehicle, the Commissioner may require such person submit to an examination to determine their qualifications."
What are "reasonable grounds"?
"Reasonable grounds" means that the DMV must have a "specific reason" related to driving performance why a driver needs to be contacted for a driving re-evaluation. A "specific reason" is a driving incident, behavior, action or other cause reported to the DMV by a physician, a police officer, or someone who knows or has observed the driver.
How is a report sent to DMV?
Form DS-5 can be sent by a police officer, to report reasonable grounds for a driver re-evaluation.
Form DS-6 can be sent by a doctor to report a medical condition that can affect the ability of the driver to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Form DS-7 can be sent by any person who has seen the driver operate a vehicle in a manner that could make the driver a danger on the highway. The person who sends the report must include their name. Form DS-7 must also be signed by the person who completes the report, and the form must be notarized.
The DS-7 report is available under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). However, the DMV does not disclose the name of the person who completed the DS-7.
DMV does not take action on DS-7 reports that are not complete or that do not include the name and signature of the person who made the report. The DMV determines any actions to take and decides each case individually.
The DMV does not accept re-evaluation requests by phone or by e-mail.
Where are the forms sent?
The forms are mailed to:
Medical Review Unit
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza, Room 337
Albany, NY 12228
What happens after the Driver Improvement Bureau receives a report form?
The Driver Improvement Bureau forwards the report form to the DMV Testing and Investigation Office in the area where the driver resides.
A license examiner from the DMV Testing and Investigation Office reviews the form to determine if there is a reason to re-evaluate the driver. If the examiner determines that there is a valid reason, the DMV examiner sends the driver a certified letter to request that the driver to come to the DMV office for an interview. The letter explains the reason for the interview and informs the driver of the items and information to bring to the interview.
The letter advises the driver that if they do not appear for the interview, the DMV will suspend the driver license.
The letter also advises the driver that a vision test is required. The driver can either take the vision test at the interview or bring form MV-619 (Eye Test Report) completed by a vision care professional. If your vision care professional is enrolled in the DMV Vision Registry, the professional will notify you that your test results will be entered electronically and you will not need form MV-619 (Eye Test Report).
The letter may also indicate that the driver is required to bring one or more of the following:
- A form MV-80 medical report completed by a doctor,
- A registered and inspected vehicle,
- A driver with a valid driver license
What happens at the interview?
The DMV license examiner explains the information that was received and allows the driver to respond to the information.
If a form MV-80 is required the license examiner will review the form.
The form MV-80 must include:
- A statement that the driver is a patient of the doctor.
- The names of medicines the doctor has prescribed for the patient.
- The professional opinion from the doctor of the patients' ability to drive.
If the driver does not bring an acceptable form MV-80, the DMV will suspend the driver license until an acceptable statement on form MV-80 is submitted.
If the form MV-80 indicates that the driver is not medically fit to drive, the driver license will be suspended or revoked.
- The license examiner can also require that the driver take a road sign/written test and a driving skills test.
Based on the interview and test results, the license examiner determines the next steps.
What happens if the driver does not appear for the interview?
If the driver does not appear for the interview, the DMV will suspend the driver license until the driver appears.
What happens if the driver fails the vision test or the road sign/written test?
If the driver fails the vision test or the road sign/written test, the DMV suspends the driver license until the driver can pass the required test.
What happens if the driver is required to take a driving test?
The re-evaluation driving test, if required, is the same road test a new driver takes to qualify for a driver license. If a driving test is required it includes:
- Driving safely in traffic.
- Left turns and right turns.
- A three-point turn.
- Parallel parking.
If the driver cannot pass the driving test, the DMV will immediately revoke the driver license.
Is a re-evaluation revocation permanent, for the life of the driver?
A driver license revocation that results from a re-evaluation does not need to be permanent. The driver must wait at least 30 days, and can then re-apply for a driver license. A Drivers who fails a re-evaluation road test, may want to consider the services of a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.
To qualify for a new driver license, the driver must:
- Apply for a Learner Permit at your local DMV Office (written test is waived).
- Pass a vision test.
- Take a 5-hour pre-licensing course.
- Pass a road test.
If the driver qualifies and passes the road test, the DMV issues a new driver license. The driver is on probation for six months from the date of the road test.
During the six month probation the driver license is be suspended if:
- The driver is convicted of a violation for speeding, reckless driving or following too closely, or
- The driver is convicted of any two other moving traffic violations.
Are there other reasons a driver can be re-evaluated?
The DMV has an accident re-examination program that identifies drivers who have been in three or more reportable accidents within an 18-month period. The program includes drivers of all ages. A reportable accident is any accident in NYS that causes a fatality, a personal injury or damage over $1,000 to the property of any one person. The DMV sends the driver a letter to come to a DMV office for an interview and for possible eye, written and road tests.