The driver next to you may have “safe driver” printed on the bottom of their driver’s license, but are they medically fit to be driving as of today?
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles more than 8,000 crashes have occurred due to a medical emergency in the past three years. New data analyzing the past five years (2012-2017) shows that 78,000 people were reported to the state for questionable driving skills; Out of those, 12,000 drivers were flagged by the Medical Advisory Board as unfit to drive and had their licenses revoked, while 23,000 others had re-examinations ordered. But who’s following up and why should you care?
The Florida Medical Review Program was established for this reason— to keep medically unfit drivers from crowding our roadways.
Hillsborough County Sherrif Officer, Milo Millovitch said, “Being medically unfit is just as bad as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Medical is hardly unusual here, epilepsy or seizures, uncontrolled diabetes, dementia, loss of consciousness to name a few.”
Yet audited records from 2013 prove that the very program created to monitor this growing concern for safe driving missed the mark on revoking licenses for these medically unfit drivers in a timely manner. As of today, there are 75,000 open and active medical review cases, however, it’s unclear how many of those have received follow-up of any kind.
So what can you do?
Florida is a self reporting state; This means it is up to drivers to report themselves if they suffer from medical conditions that affect their ability to drive. However, it is encouraged that the public also report drivers if they feel someone is incapable of driving due to a medical reason. Any person of agency or physician can report a driver who is unfit to drive due to their health. Any information obtained is kept anonymous and no legal action can be taken against the person submitting the report.
If you or anyone you know think they are medically unfit to drive, please see your doctor or encourage the unfit driver to do the same, and help keep our roadways safe for all.
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels