A law was recently passed in Massachusetts that addresses the issue of safe driving. This law permits certain health care providers and law enforcement officers to file confidential reports with the Registry of Motor Vehicles on any driver they have reasonable cause to believe “is not physically or medically capable of safely operating a vehicle.” The law specifies that any driver, no matter what age, that has a “cognitive or functional impairment” that affects their ability to drive safely may be reported to the Registry. However, doctors and police officers are not REQUIRED to file a report. The new law states that these reports of impaired drivers cannot be based solely on age, or diagnosis or condition, but rather must be based on observation and evidence.
When a report has been filed, the Registry must then consult with medical experts and they are required to conduct a review within 30 days to determine if the driver has the capacity to continue driving. If not, the Registry can suspend the driver’s license.
The Department of Public Health has proposed new regulations defining “cognitive impairment” as “any condition that impairs…attention, alertness, perception, comprehension, judgment, memory, or reasoning that may influence the physical action, reaction time, or other responses to understand and interact with the environment.” A “functional impairment” is “any symptom of a disease or medical condition that results in full or partial decrease in any or several sensory or motor functions”, which includes “peripheral sensation of the extremities, strength, flexibility, motor planning and coordination.”
It is important to note that this law is not directed at any particular age group and drivers will be able to appeal if their license has been suspended.
This information was provided to the senior citizens of Pembroke in a recent newsletter. However, The RMV has information about mature drivers here. Learn more about auto insurance here.