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How is The DMV Alerted to Dementia

How Does the DMV Learn That I Have Dementia?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is an enormous government agency that affects the day to day lives of most adult citizens.  Each day, the DMV engages the public in thousands of transactions that range from registering of motor vehicles to the issuance of driver licenses.

The DMV interfaces so much with the public that it is literally “hardwired” into the very fabric of California society and thus will receive a tremendous amount of information on drivers from a wide variety of sources.  Additionally, the California State Legislature has mandated that some “mandatory reporters” provide information to the DMV, even if you or I consider that information to be private.

There is no question that being diagnosed with some form or Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is devastating.  Also, a person diagnosed with such a devastating disorder would presume the information to be profoundly private. The fact is, in some instances, the law dictates that the information should be released to the DMV.  Any Physical or Mental disorder that could affect one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is an enormous concern for the DMV and California State Law supports the DMV’s right to be told about it.


There are a variety of means by which the DMV may receive information that you have Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

Some of the most common are:

  • Physicians and other medical professionals: Currently, 12% of the States in the US legally mandate that doctors and other medical professionals must report to the Department of Motor Vehicles, any driver who is medically or cognitively impaired.  California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania will move to revoke the medical license of any physician who does not comply with the requirement to report afflicted drivers.
  • Law Enforcement Officers: It is not uncommon for a driver suffering with some form of cognitive disorder to not understand how bad they are affected.  This can result in contact with police officers during a traffic enforcement stop or during the investigation of a traffic accident.  Because police officers are on the front lines and are frequently in contact with drivers, it is common for a police officer to develop a concern that a driver suffers with some form of cognitive decline and then report that person to the DMV.
  • Family, Friends or Caregivers: This group of people has the most direct contact with an affected driver.  As such, this group is often a source of information to the DMV.  This can create a painful dynamic within relationships as the reporting party struggles with their desire to protect the rights of their friends and loved ones, but also agonize over the need to protect the public.
  • Social Media: We all reside in a media rich world and the DMV is very active in that world.  It is not uncommon for a DMV employee to view information on-line that suggests a driver may suffer with cognitive decline and then take the action to initiate an investigation.
  • Anonymous Tipsters: The Department of Motor Vehicle is mandated by law to investigate any and all reports regarding the fitness of a person to drive.  As such the Department will initiate an investigation or even order the suspension of a driver license based upon information from a person who wishes to remain anonymous.
  • The individual Driver: Surprisingly, it is common for an individual driver to  unknowingly report himself to the department either directly or indirectly.  This will most often occur when a driver enters a DMV field office to apply for or to renew a driver license.  During the contact with the department, the person may display mannerisms or physical symptoms that give rise to suspicion.

Whatever the source of information is, the DMV will work aggressively to protect the general public from an incapable driver and that may bring even innocent people into DMV scrutiny.  No matter what the Physical/Mental issue is, if you have received information that the DMV is seeking to suspend or revoke your driver license for memory loss, cognitive decline, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you have a right to protect yourself.  Don’t let the DMV take you off the road prematurely.

Call CDA Today……… We can guide you through the maze of the DMV.

Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates for a free assessment of your case.  Even though most forms of Dementia prove to be progressive, you may still be at the point where you can enjoy your driving freedom.  Don’t let the government infringe on your rights without a fight.  Call CDA today.





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