In today’s world, a driver’s license is the main form of photo identification. Most people don’t carry around a passport, and business cards and/or work identification cards don’t normally have all relevant information printed on their faces.
Your driver’s license is a one-stop snapshot of your vital information — height, weight, description, name, address and basic health condition. By virtue of carrying a driver’s license, it is assumed that you are at least healthy and fit enough to drive, with no medical reason for you not to operate a vehicle.
But when you get your driver’s license, you are not required to provide evidence of the information you give. You list your own height and weight — so who is going to know if you shave off a few pounds or give yourself an extra inch or two?
While it may seem innocuous to fudge these small details (after all, who doesn’t want to be taller and thinner, at least on paper), it gets more worrisome when people have to report honestly on their own medical status, knowing that some conditions are more likely to complicate getting a license or avoiding extra tests to keep driving.
Is Honesty the Best Policy?
Currently, Colorado uses the honor system for drivers reporting on health conditions and personal information at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers must honestly disclose whether they suffer from health conditions that could compromise their ability to drive safely when they apply for their licenses, and the DMV can make the determination from there.
There is no system in place to double-check or verify what a driver reports, so if he or she omits (either on purpose or by accident) any information, the DMV has no way of knowing whether that driver should really be allowed behind the wheel.
Medical conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes and seizures can have a significant impact on a driver’s abilities. When potential drivers admit to having one of these conditions, or something similar, they are automatically disqualified from receiving a license and have to go through an appeals process to prove they are safe to drive.
Some states require doctors to report epilepsy and other conditions to the DMV and set a timeframe between a person’s last seizure before allowing them to have a license. Colorado does not have these requirements, but it does allow outside parties — family members, doctors, law enforcement officials, and judges — to request that a driver be re-examined if he or she is unfit to drive.
In these cases, the DMV can have the driver take a driving test or a written exam and may request an eye exam as well. Last year, the state revoked over 1,300 licenses for drivers who could not pass their re-examination. Clearly, some drivers are not honestly disclosing conditions that make them unfit.
At Levine Law, we value safety on the roads, especially safety that can be promoted by honesty and full disclosure from drivers who may not be in the best shape. Without full disclosure at the DMV, unsafe drivers put themselves and others at risk. If you have been injured as a result of an unfit driver’s actions, contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Levine Law today.