Aging could affect South Dakotans’ ability to drive

Aging could affect South Dakotans' ability to drive Despite a steadily growing population of aging drivers, Secretary of Public Safety Tom Dravland said that effective screening for ability is the best method of determining whether a motorist is qualifies to safely operate a motor vehicle on South Dakota's roadways.

"The Department of Public Safety Office of Driver Licensing provides re-examination designed to identify persons, regardless of age, who are not safe drivers," Dravland said.

In South Dakota, a re-examination form must be completed by someone who knows the individual and feels he/she is an unsafe driver. The forms are available at http://www.state. sd.us/dps/dl/evalreq.pdf or by calling the Driver Licensing Program at 1-800-952-3696 or (605) 773-6883.

"Driver re-examinations typically follow the request of families, law enforcement, friends, doctors or other health care providers," said Cindy Gerber, SD driver licensing director.

The completed re-examination form is forwarded to the Driver Licensing Program and an area supervisor who re-evaluates the individual's driving skills. If a medical problem is suspected, the individual is also required to provide Driver Licensing with a medical/vision statement from his/her doctor.

"Common effects of aging include declining visual acuity, heightened problems with glare, and loss of flexibility," said Gerber. "These problems can be obvious or subtle, so we really appreciate families' or friends' help in stopping or reducing their loved ones' driving."

To address this growing public health issue, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) has launched the GrandDriver program to urge the public, particularly drivers age 65 plus and their adult children, to learn more about the effects of aging on one's ability to drive. Visit http://www.granddriver.info to learn about the GrandDriver program.

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