If the DMV receives a report of a physical or mental condition (“P & M”) or lack of skill, a “reexamination” is scheduled.
When the DMV determines that an evaluation must be made of a person’s driving skills, they call it a “reexamination.” A person with a recent physical or mental (P & M) condition, or a poor driving record could prompt a reexamination action with the California DMV. Reexaminations are initiated in response to the following sources:
- A physician or surgeon is required by law to report to the DMV certain conditions or disorders characterized by loss of consciousness or control, including Alzheimer’s disease. The law also allows them to report other conditions, which, in their opinion, may affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- Emergency medical personnel who may see the driver in an emergency facility due to a sudden loss of consciousness, awareness, or control.
- Unsolicited letters from family members, friends, or neighbors who report that a driver may no longer be able to drive safely.
- A law enforcement officer who stops the driver for a traffic law violation or is at an accident scene in which the driver was involved believes that he/she appears to be an unsafe driver.
- A Request for Priority Reexamination from a peace officer who has observed your driving and believes you are an unsafe driver and should not continue driving.
- The driver indicates on the driver license application or renewal-by-mail notice that he/she has a disease, disorder, or disability that affects his/her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- The driving record indicates accidents, traffic law convictions, reckless, negligent or incompetent driving habits, fraudulent use of a driver license, or other grounds which would cause DMV to refuse a driver license.
A Priority Reexamination (also called a “priority reex”) is the immediateevaluation of an individual by a DMV Driver Safety hearing officer. A Request for Priority Reexamination starts with a report from a peace officer who has observed your driving and believes you are an unsafe driver. A peace officer will start the priority reexamination process if he/she observes a driver:
- Committing a violation of the “Rules of the Road” (Vehicle Code §§2100-23336)
- Exhibiting evidence of physical or mental incapacity, and
- Potentially posing a significant traffic safety risk.
The peace officer may also issue the driver a citation for the driving offense and give them the Priority Reexamination Notice. The driver may be referred to the DMV even if he/she was not cited for a driving offense. After the officer issues you the Priority Reexamination Notice, the local DMV Driver Safety Office must be contacted within five days or your driver license will be suspended.
Driver Safety Offices
There are DMV Driver Safety Offices throughout the state of California for those drivers scheduled for departmental re-examinations or requesting administrative hearings. These offices are located in the following cities (click on your location to find directions to that office).
- City of Commerce
- City of Orange
- El Segundo
- San Bernadino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Van Nuys
What happens during the reexamination process
An attorney may accompany you to the reexamination, but you must appear as well. The reexamination may be conducted in-person or over the telephone. At the reexamination, the DMV hearing officer will ask many questions. These questions may include your driving history and specific incidents on your driving record. You may be asked about the “Rules of the Road” and how you would handle specific driving situations. You may also be asked to provide medical information from your physician.
You must appear in person at the reexamination hearing, but your DMV attorney may participate by telephone.
The DMV hearing officer will ask you many questions, for which DMV attorney Mindy McQueen will prepare you fully so that their questions will be easy to anticipate and your prepared responses will be accurate and provide the information in the best possible way. Their questions may include your driving history, your medical history, as well as specific incidents that they have seen in your driving records.
The reexamination process may also include a vision test, a written test, and a driving test. After the reexamination, the DMV Hearing Officer will review the evidence and decide what action, if any, they believe is warranted under the circumstances. The possible action taken against your driving privilege could be a restriction, probation, suspension, or revocation. DMV personnel must notify you in writing of the decision. If you feel the decision is unjustified, you then have the right to challenge the decision by requesting a hearing, and retaining an attorney if you wish.
What happens if the driver does not appear for the Reexamination
If the driver does not personally appear for and complete the reexamination as scheduled (either by telephone or in person), his/her driving privilege will be suspended. The suspension will remain in effect until he/she appears, provides the requested information, and/or submits to any required tests.
What decisions can the DMV make after a Reexamination?
Following a reexamination, the DMV hearing officer will take one of the following administrative actions:
- No Action: Your condition or driving record does not warrant an action against your driving privilege.
- Medical Probation (Type I): You must comply with your medical regimen and report to any changes in your medical condition to the DMV.
- Medical Probation (Type II): Your physician must submit periodic medical reports to the DMV on specified dates.
- Limited Term License: You are issued a license for up to two years, and you are required to return to the DMV for reevaluation and potential retesting.
- Calendar Reexamination: You are required to appear for a reexamination at specified intervals, provide updated medical information, and submit to possible retesting.
- Restriction: You may only operate a motor vehicle under specific conditions and circumstances, such as: driving during certain times of the day, driving within certain geographical areas, or having your vehicle equipped with specialized equipment.
- Suspension: Your driving privilege is suspended for an indefinite period of time. Your driving privilege can be reinstated at any time if you can show that you are compensating for a physical or mental condition, or your driving behavior no longer presents a safety risk.
- Revocation: Your driving privilege is terminated. Generally this action is taken when a hearing officer believes that your physical or mental condition is so severe it does not appear likely that your condition will ever improve, or a driving incident is so severe that you are found to present a safety risk.
What If the DMV Takes An Action Against My Driving Privilege?
DMV must notify you in writing of:
- Any action taken, and
- Your legal rights, including the right to a hearing.
Can the DMV Reexamine Me If I Do Not Have A Medical Problem But My Driving Skills Are Deteriorating?
Yes. The DMV can/and will reexamine you when information suggests that you no longer have the knowledge and/or skill necessary to drive safely.
Does the DMV Automatically Reexamine Drivers After A Certain Age?
No. DMV will not reexamine a driver solely based on age.
How Long Will My Driving Privilege Be Suspended Or Revoked After A Reexamination?
Generally, the length of a suspension or revocation is indefinite. However, the DMV will consider reinstating your driving privilege when:
- Additional information is available to indicate that any physical or mental condition has been controlled and is no longer a potential threat to safe driving; or
- Your driving record no longer indicates negligent driving activity.
What If I Need An Interpreter?
If you need a sign language or foreign language interpreter, the DMV will provide one. You must contact the DMV as soon as you are notified about a pending reexamination, so that an interpreter will be available for your reexamination.
Learn more about Attorney Mindy H. McQueen.