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Info for Law Enforcement & Medical Professionals

Law Enforcement

Knowing the laws and regulations regarding older drivers is important, not only for law enforcement agencies, but for older drivers, their family and friends, as well. Although laws differ from state to state, there are special regulations governing driver examinations and license renewal for older adults that are designed to keep all drivers and passengers safe. 
 
In Missouri, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, through the Subcommittee on Elder Mobility and Safety (SEMS) is working to educate medical professionals, law enforcement and license staff on older driver safety issues and tools. 
 
Here are a few common questions pertaining to legal issues and older driver safety: 

What are the current laws concerning older driver safety? 

Depending on the state, older adult drivers may be required to take vision tests, obtain a physician's note, or require more frequent license renewals. In Missouri, adults must renew their license every three years after the age of 70, and in Kansas, they must renew every four years after the age of 65. For other state's renewal requirements, please visit the Governor's Highway Safety Association here, or AAA's webpage on senior drive here.
 

Do I need to report someone that I think is unfit to drive? If so, to whom do I report it?

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, if you think an individual is unfit to drive, you should submit a Driver Condition Report (Form 4319). After completing this form, you must mail it to the Missouri Department of Revenue. In this report, you must identify the driver with name, date of birth, driver's license number, current address and license plate number for the vehicle being operated. You must also provide as many details as possible as to how the driver is unsafe, as well as the condition of the driver. To access the form, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue's website.
 
To report an unsafe driver in Kansas, please call the Kansas Department of Revenue at 785-296-3601 to make an official report. To make an accurate report, you'll need information on both the driver and the car. Please visit the Kansas Department of Revenue website for more information on driving safety.
 
For other information on reporting unsafe drivers, please click here.
 

Medical

Older adults see their doctors more frequently as they age. A doctor or nurse could be the most likely person to pick up signs of deteriorating motor skills or memory that could affect a person's ability to drive safely. What can people in the medical field do to help the aging population?
 
Here are a few common questions asked by medical officials: 

Do I have a legal obligation to report a patient who has a significant physical and/or cognitive impairment that could affect their ability to drive safely? 

Some older drivers do not realize their driving skills have deteriorated and discussing the problem with them may be difficult. Reporting an unsafe driver may seem drastic, but in some cases it may be the only way to handle a serious situation.
 
The law in Missouri does not require physicians or other medical professionals to report a patient who has a condition that makes driving unsafe. For more information on reporting a driver's ability to drive, please visit the Missouri Department of Revenue Frequently Asked Questions web page.
 

What resources can I give to patients that need more than general care to help them drive safely?

If you think a patient's driving may benefit from occupational therapy, many of the hospitals in the Kansas City area offer occupational therapy sessions by appointment or through a referral from a physician. The Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City also offers occupational therapy for older adults with a referral from a doctor. For more information on the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City, please visit their website
 

Are there publications for medical personnel to help increase my knowledge about older driver safety?

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has two publications specifically for medical professionals: Driver Fitness Medical Guidelines and the Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers.
 

The Older Adult Driver and Pedestrian Safety section of the KC Communities for All Ages web pages was made available through Community AGEnda: Improving America for All Ages grant sponsored by the Pfizer Foundation and Grantmakers In Aging, with local funding through the Jewish Heritage Foundation and WJ Brace Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee.