One of the hardest things many people face as they age is that they may not have the same capabilities they did when they were younger. You may notice that Grandma or Grandpa is no longer safe behind the wheel -- but then what? Restricting somebody's ability to drive a car can be a difficult process, but you may find that a conservatorship is the only way to keep everybody safe.
California & Driving Restrictions
Fortunately for those on the road, the California Department of Motor Vehicles does investigate drivers if it receives information about their driving capabilities, such as evidence of a physical or mental condition that may affect one's ability to drive safely. After initiating an investigation, the DMV will notify the individual that he or she must come in for a driving exam and visit the physician for a signed form.
The officer in charge of the investigation is likely to have your loved one go through an interview, vision test, written test, and driving test. Based on the findings of the examinations, the officer may decide to allow the driver to continue on or to restrict driving privileges.
The Responsibility of Medical Providers
If a physician believes that a patient's ability to drive is impaired by certain disorders, such as those that cause lack of consciousness, he or she must report it to a health officer. Of course, even if the physician reports the driver and the DMV revokes driving privileges, your loved one could challenge the decision. You can seek out an independent opinion if you are unsure of the physician's assessment.
What Is a Conservatorship?
A court proceeding establishes a conservator, or fiduciary, who is in charge of ensuring the physical, medical, financial, and basic needs of an individual are met. A conservator is established when it becomes clear that an individual may no longer be able to meet his or her own needs. In a case where an individual appears to be no longer capable of making decisions regarding safe driving, you can speak to a lawyer about whether or not conservatorship is the right choice.
Your goal is to keep Grandma (or Grandpa) and everybody else safe on the road. If you want to learn more about conservatorship, contact us for additional information.