Monday, March 26, 2012

Pain In The Ass - But a Great Idea

As some of you know, I worked for a long time to have my Grandmother stop driving while she was still alive.  I gave her taxi coupons and a cell phone.  I begged, I explained.  And I was meet with the comment "If you won't let me drive, you might as well kill me!" and a barrel of tears.
Well, New York has a much better system - although it is a pain in the ass for those of us that need glasses.  When you get your license renewed, and you need corrective lenses, you MUST go to a optometrist and have your eyes rechecked!   That would have stopped Zela (and thousands of other California drivers) before they hurt someone.
Zela was lucky in that her last accident only totaled a couple of cars.  No one was hurt.  That old geezer in Santa Monica ran over 14 people and killed 2 - and his family had also tried to take away his license.
FYI, Doctors in California are worthless in this regard.  We spoke to the DMV, who said we had to talk to a Doctor and then to the Doctor who said he wouldn't tell Zela what to do because of liability.  FYI - it sucks when the entire state makes decisions based on who gets sued.  Apparently, old people will sue a Doctor who tries to claim they can't drive,  more often that than the people who are hit and incapacitated by those drivers sue the Doctors.
I like that New York takes it out of the Doctors and Drivers hands completely. Go get an eye test.  The optometrist did say that they aren't allowed to take peripheral vision into account (so even if you have tunnel vision - if it is correctable to 20/30 in the center - you can drive) - but it's better than nothing.


Joc said...

Actually, everyone has to get an eye test, not just those who wear corrective lenses. I still, fortunately, have decent enough eyesight that it doesn't go on my license but had to get the eye test to renew.

But your point is good. Easy way to get the altecackers off the road without the tears.

Dr. Kirk said...

I ran across your blog; I'm a neurologist in North Carolina. I treat patients with many forms of dementia, various strokes, progressive neurologic degenerative disease, all of which can impair driving. Unless it is profoundly obvious based on their Mini Mental Status Exam score, the location of their stroke (such as a huge visual field cut or neglect), progressed motor dysfunction in Parkinson's or MS, etc., then it is unrealistic for most doctors to be able to discern the shades of grey area (most patients). I tell patients all the time they can't drive, and there is no realistic fear of being sued. No one will ever win a lawsuit against me for applying clinical acumen to such a decision. That being said, for any degree of grey area, I send patients to one of the many reputable driving test schools (in every state) who specifically test for driving ability in the setting of a medical issue or any such concern which may compromise the subtle aspects of safe driving.
S. Thomas Kirk, MD (