What happens when someone reports that a citizen is unable to safely operate or drive a motor vehicle as a result of a some physical condition, mental impairment, medical condition or addiction to alcohol or drugs?
The Florida Department of Transportation provides funding for Florida’s Medical Review Process. Allegations of unsafe driving often involve:
- a variety of different types of medical conditions;
- vision problems;
- substance abuse;
- medication that affects the ability to drive safely;
- reckless or poor driving as a result of medical issues;
- observations of dings, dents or scratches that might have resulted because of a medical condition;
- observations of a citizen acting confused or getting lost while driving in familiar areas and thinking there may be a possible medical cause for the behavior.
Florida law allows the reports to be kept strictly confidential. In fact, no civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person or agency for providing this information. The HSMV Form 72190 that was last revised in July of 2013 can be found at http://www.flhsmv.gov/forms/72190.pdf.
The Medical Reporting Form Used in Florida
According to the Medical Reporting Form, physical or mental disabilities that could lead to being unable to safely operate or drive a motor vehicle could include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Alcohol Addiction;
- Drug Addiction;
- Psychiatric Disturbance;
- Dementia/Memory Defects;
- Epilepsy with recent “Petit mal” or absence seizures and partial seizures with complex symptomatology or even isolated seizure with a normal encephalogram;
- Severe Cardiac Condition;
- Loss of Consciousness;
- Uncontrollable Diabetes
- Severe Visual Defect; or
- Sleep Disorders.
Once a report is made using Florida’s Medical Reporting Form, the DHSMV conducts an investigation of the accusation of being medically unsafe to drive.
If the Department finds that “cause” is found, then the driver receives notice that he or she is under medical review. The driver is asked to provide medical information from their physician to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida’s DHSMV’s Medical Advisory Board
The information is also provided to the Florida DHSMV’s Medical Advisory Board. After reviewing the information, the Florida DHSMV’s Medical Advisory Board provides a recommendation regarding the citizen’s ability to drive. The recommendation may do one of the following:
- Require the driver to provide additional information;
- Require the driver to re-take the driving test; or
- Revoke or deny the driver of a driver’s license or privilege to drive in the State of Florida.
Florida Statute Section 322.126
Florida Statute Section 322.126 (2), (3), provides that “Any physician, person, or agency having knowledge of any licensed driver’s or applicant’s mental or physical disability to drive…is authorized to report such knowledge to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles… The reports authorized by this section shall be confidential… No civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person or agency who provides the information herein.
Administrative Hearings in the Medical Review Process
If the Florida DHSMV takes any action to deny or revoke the driver’s license then the driver should demand an administrative hearing to appeal the decision. During the administrative hearing the driver can present evidence and testimony that he is capable of driving and may bring witnesses to testify on his behalf.
If you need an experienced attorney for a Medical Review investigation and administrative hearing, then give us a call to discuss the case.