Why is the California DMV Concerned about Dementia?
As the Nation’s Baby Boomers age, the frequency of drivers being diagnosed with varying forms of Cognitive Decline is increasing at an alarming rate. In California alone, an estimated 50,000 people are diagnosed with Cognitive Decline, Dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease each year. Of course, the vast majority of those people are licensed to operate motor vehicles and that becomes a huge concern for the DMV.
Many forms of Dementia are progressive in nature; meaning the symptoms tend to grow worse with the passage of time. The progression of the disorder tends to be gradual, but over time, it affects cognitive functions that are a critical element of driving. Some of the more common effects of Dementia are:
- Poor Judgement
- Poor ability to multi-task
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired spatial skill
- Anger management issues
- Other cognitive deficits
When the effects of Dementia rise to the level that a person can no longer safely drive, it becomes a public safety issue. The hard truth is that everyone diagnosed with Dementia will eventually lose the ability to drive and it is the DMV’s obligation to assess when that level has been reached.
Remember however, the DMV is not staffed by Medical Professionals and it can often misinterpret information it does not understand. Just because you’ve been diagnosed with an issue of Cognitive Decline, does not mean you’re not safe to drive and a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates, may be able to keep you driving.
How does Dementia affect safe driving?
Just because you have received a diagnosis of Dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease does not mean that you must be taken from the road. Many people who are diagnosed with Cognitive Disorders are able to continue driving for many years.
After years on the road, we all grow comfortable with driving and consider the operation of a motor vehicle to be second nature. The truth is, however, much different. Safe driving is a multi-faceted task that requires quick reasoning and thought processing. This, combined with good vision, good hearing, manual dexterity and sound judgement are the cornerstones of safe driving. While safe driving may seem as natural as breathing to an experienced driver, it is actually quite a complex task.
The driver who has been diagnosed with Dementia may experience challenges in:
Attention and Concentration: This is vital as a driver must be able to evaluate ever changing roadway conditions and have the ability to move between several driving tasks.
Visual/Spatial Skills: This is also critical as the driver must be able to discern depth and distance so they can judge the distance between vehicles. This also impacts their ability to maintain lane position and maintain an appropriate speed for the current conditions.
Problem Solving Skills: This is critical as any good driver must be able to quickly analyze and respond to obstructions or diversions that are either present or suddenly appear in the roadway.
Judgement and Decision Making: This is vitally important as the driver must be able to interpret and anticipate the actions or other drivers and pedestrians.
Perception/Reaction Time and Processing Skills: The California Highway Patrol indicates that for an average California driver, it take 2 to 2.5 seconds from the time a threat is perceived until the driver is able to react. In people diagnosed with Dementia, the perception/reaction time can be greatly increased.
Anger Management: California is the capitol for Road Rage. It happens on a daily basis and for a driver suffering with Dementia, anger can cause a normally benign situation to turn explosive.
Memory Issues: This is very important as a driver must be able to recall routes to be travelled, how to change gears and activate turn signals and the meaning of road signs.
Call CDA Today….. Our compassionate and patient team can get you through this.
Being diagnosed with some form of Dementia can be a shattering and frightening experience for any person. To then have that compounded by the DMV suspending your driver license is further demoralizing. Don’t let the DMV steal your privilege to drive without a fight. There are literally thousands of people driving today with various levels of Cognitive Decline or Dementia because they were able to prove they are stable.
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been representing California drivers with Dementia for decades. We’ve seen every dirty trick played by the DMV to strip a person of their driving privilege. Call us today and let us put together a winning strategy to beat the DMV at its own game.