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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 03:46 PM
Original message
Being disabled and driving
I can't walk at all. in 2001 I received my driver's license. I then drove with a perfect record for all my driving history. Not even a parking ticket.

Then I had to renew.

Here's a letter I wrote about what happened then:

Two years ago I went to renew my driver's license. I have a completely, totally spotless driving record. When I got there, a DMV officer started asking me what medications I took, and asked me to explain my disability. She did it in an extremely rude manner, yelling at me from across the room. I was really taken aback, and started answering her about the disability, but she didn't understand, so she then told me to write it all down on a piece of paper, and demanded that I take my driving test again. I refused to write anything down, felt pretty shaken up and decided to leave.

I went to another office where they told me I had to take the driving test. I think the woman at the previous office wrote it down on the computer as I had renewed my license before with no problem. I didn't take the test as I felt it was wrong to force people with a spotless record to take the test again

The following day I emailed several people about what had happened. The supervisor of the office I went called me, and I thought she'd set things right, but soon in the call I could see she only wanted to protect the employee. She told me that asking me to write my disability down was a "kind gesture" from the clerk, as "she didn't want to embarrass me", and then she had the gall to ask me if I had ever taken the driving test, as if she didn't know the answer to that. I felt she just wanted to confuse me.

My life has really deteriorated since my license expired. So I bit the bullet and went again to try to renew.

Someone (a supervisor, I think) reviewed the whole matter and told me that the problem was that no one had made a note that I was in a wheelchair. She told me to take the test so they could write the note. I've used a wheelchair since I was ten yrs old.

Then I went for my vision test. I couldn't reach the machine, so they looked around and in a corner there was an old, different looking machine and they had me take the test there. With my glasses on, I could see the letters clearly, but they told me I was "getting too many of them wrong". I couldn't understand what happened, and how could I be getting them wrong when I could see them just fine. I failed the test, and they gave me a form for the Dr. to fill. I went, I have the form saying that my corrected vision is 20/20. The Dr. doesn't understand how I failed the test. One of the questions on the form is "On the basis of your clinical observation, visual or otherwise, do you recommend applicant be required to pass a driving test? The Dr's reply is "NO".

So I wonder why if THEY made a mistake no noting I was in a wheelchair, why am *I* being penalized? How can that be right? Why isn't my driving record enough evidence that I'm a safe driver, who passed the driving test and was issued a safe driver's license by the state? I know people who have tickets, collisions, who renew without being asked to take the test again.

On page ten of "The Official Florida Driver's handbook, it says that driver's who have a conviction -free record for the past three years, and no suspensions or revocations for the past seven years will be issued a "safe driver" license. I belong in that group. I don't think it's fair that I'm being singled out just by perception, when the reality, the facts, and the record are in my favor. That's just wrong. Please help.

---------------------------

I sent this email to a state representative. (I live in FL). An assistant to the representavive spoke to a "liason" (sorry, I don't really know what that means) of the DMV and she told him I HAD to take the test. Couldn't give her a reason why. Said it was all up the discretion of the examiner.

Now, you might say, just take the test. The truth is that I'm terrified to. After all this hassle I feel they want to take my license away. The truth is that the tought of having this person (the examiner) next to me has me shaking. Sometimes I just want to forget the whole thing, but my life without my license has deteriorated. Im now a shut-in, getting more depressed anyway.

I posted this to get your opinions. Opinions from people who live life with a POV similar to mine. I'm I wrong here?

What can I do?

Thank you.







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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. Lawyer up and sue the fuckers. If you can afford it. If not, maybe you can
get someone to pro-bono you. I think you've been discriminated against.
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Good thought. And also ask that the DMV offices be inspected and ADA'd.
They are supposed to be fully accessible, not make you use inferior equipment.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Very salient point! nt
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thank you
Edited on Fri Jul-24-09 04:02 PM by lunamagica
I can't afford a lawyer. My mother thinks I should just go and take the test on Monday. But I tell her that it's completely up to them to fail me or pass me. My word against the examiner. ( and they must be hating me because they got a call from the government)

I really don't think that it's in my best interest to take the test.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Call your bar association, see if you can get some pro bono (free) help.
I think you have an important case, myself.
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I think I have a strong case too. But I wanted some feed back. Thank you so much/ nt
Edited on Fri Jul-24-09 04:19 PM by lunamagica
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I think the DMV crapped all over the ADA in their dealings with you.
And you've memorialized those interactions in your correspondence with lawmakers.

I think you can eat their lunch!
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
16. Do you have legal aides in your area? They might be able to help you. nt
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I don't know, I'll have to look that up. Thanks. /nt
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-27-09 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
21. Try your Protection and Advocacy agency
they have lawyers whose job it is to protect us from that kind of egregious discrimination.

http://www.advocacycenter.org

Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc.

Statewide Phone Number

850-488-9071
Toll Free: (800) 342-0823
Fax: (850) 488-8640
TDD: (800) 346-4127

Tallahassee

2728 Centerview Drive, Suite 102
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Tampa

Times Building, Suite 640
1000 N. Ashley Drive
Tampa, FL 33602

South Florida

4411 Sheridan Street
Hollywood, FL 33021
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. Part of the problem is where you live
I see a lot of older folks around me who probably shouldn't be driving, and let's face it, when they get even older, they move to Florida. Your DMV is geared to trying to get as many people de-licensed as possible for an inability to drive. It's in their DNA.

It's like when I had to call the Support Enforcement Office back in WA state. The vast majority of men they deal with are deadbeat dads, so when I called them up (as a title officer) to find out the amount of a debt on a child support lien, they would be very snotty, almost abusive, to me. I soon learned to have a female co-worker make the calls, and she was dealt with politely.

Take the test, hold your head up high, and pass it, knowing that you'll have less hassle from people who drive 15 MPH in a 50 MPH zone with the left turn signal on to deal with.
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Oh, but they don't give any hassle to old people
I've seen them give the license to shaky people who look 90+ without a peep. They are all out there. The AARP is very powerful, and the DMV doesn't mess with that
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Hmm, that's not the way I've heard it
but, your mileage may vary.

In any case, take that test, kick it's hiney, and smile with pride when they take this year's license picture!
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Take a little trip down here. The evidence is everywhere. /nt
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Haven't been there since October 2007
but I do recall life moving at a bit slower pace than it does around here!
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cabluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
26. The very elderly can be every bit as deadly as any drunk driver.
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
9. I am vision impaired
when my driver's license comes up for renewal I am required to re-take the vision test - as is everyone in the state regardless of age or disability. I dread it. It has been over a decade since I have had either a violation of any kind or an accident of any kind (including not at fault accidents).

If your license expired a couple of years ago I suspect you no longer fall under the provisions of page ten which you cite. Also, it is unclear whether those safe drivers are automatically exempted from the possibility of being re-tested.

The way I see it you've got two choices. You can take the test and resolve the matter fairly quickly. Or you can contact a disability advocacy group and see if they are willing to undertake your representation and allege some discriminatory practice that has harmed you. They may be willing to fight for you against any discriminatory policies and practices - but they will want you to remain unable to secure that license until the litigation is resolved. Otherwise the facts that gave rise to the litigation are moot. You could expect this to drag on for awhile.

I know it is not what you want to hear but I'd recommend that you go and take that test so you can start to reclaim your life. I'd also recommend that you check around in advance with different DMV offices to see which one is most experienced and best equipped to test folks with your particular handicap (yes they shoud all be ADA compliant but apparently they are not).

There is always some bastard bully around trying to intimidate and dominate folks. You know from experience that you are a good driver. This is a perfect opportunity for you to go and prove your ability to overcome unfair circumstances. You'll feel better about yourself knowing you didn't let the bastards get you down. And it will immediately enable you to begin to reclaim your life.
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I'm sorry renewing is such a hassle for you.


They have never, not one mentioned the provision on page ten not applying anymore. In fact, when I showed it to the examiner, her reply was, "but you can't walk. You have to take the test again because you can't walk"

Sure I can go to take the test. But should I trust a bully to be fair? That's my biigest issue. They haven't been fair so far. Why would I trust them to be fair with the driving test when they haven't shown any fairness so far?
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Life
Edited on Fri Jul-24-09 04:45 PM by Coyote_Bandit
isn't fair. If you expect everyone to treat you fairly then you are likely to be disappointed and hurt over and over and over again. Go take that test and show them you are deserving. Don't limit yourself - or allow someone else to limit you.


On edit: I'd like to say that even though I am required to pass a vision test when I renew my license I don't view that as a hassle. The requirement is applied to everyone.
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. What I mean is, can I trust a bully to pass me
I haven't expected life to be fair since I was a kid. But what I meant is that is up to the bully to pass me or not, regardless of how I perform on the test when they've acted arbitrarily so far.

On your edit. I'm sorry I wrote that having to do the eye test was a hassle for you. It was wrong for me to assume how you felt about it.

I don't consider passing the vision test as a hassle either, because everyone has to pass it (I expect however to have an accesible, current machine for the test).

I consider having to take another driving test much more than a hassle, since safe drivers with clean records are *not* required to take another drivng test. That's for drivers with suspensions and revocations, which I don't have any of those things on my record
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-24-09 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Thing is
we trust people all the time who disappoint and betray us. Sometimes you have to take a risk. That doesn't excuse somebody else's bad behavior of course. It takes courage to take that kind of risk.

There's only one question you really need to ask: Is reclaiming your life worth taking this kind of risk? If so, then go take that test and pass it. If not, then perhaps you need to go a step further and consider why you are unwilling to assume the necessary risk to live the life you want.

People take chances everyday in an effort to live the life they want. They try to do things without guarantee of success. They marry and divorce and have children. They go to school. They change jobs and careers. They move. They start businesses. They run for office. And some of them try to overcome the limitations of their disabilities.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-26-09 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
20. I passed the written test 100%, I just never passed behind-the-wheel because of my sensory...
and motor issues and executive system dysfunction related to my Asperger's. Simply too much sensory information and things to do in a short amount of time, and I simply cannot multi-task. :(
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marcicj Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-10-10 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
22. Any new information?
Any updates?
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-10 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Sorry, I didn't see this until today
I bit the bullet and took the test. I didn't have the resources to fight this and I needed the license.

I passed the test and have my license.

Thank you for asking, and for the support I received from this forum.
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Inchworm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Now, raise some hell
:evilgrin:

I had a big problem in south Florida with DMV. The building was new (mid-late '90s). Rumor had it that the interior of the building was all up to code. My problem was.. the building itself was inaccessible. There was literally zero way to get on the sidewalk to get in the building without getting out of chair and having someone drag it up.

At the time I was really out making a point with public transportation, so I had time to stay on letters/phone calls etc. About 6 months later a ramp was chiseled into the 18 inch sidewalk. A year or so after that simply "cycling wheelchair lifts" was added to bus driver's pre-op.

A good few years and I feel I made a difference. I kind of miss that fun.

Do it. Follow up and make sure their stuff/eye machine/etc doesn't make people feel more like turds than necessary. Hell, I could have dragged my own chair up that sidewalk. A few times when bus operator said "the lift is broken" I dove on first step and dragged my chair in. It was about principle.

:yourock:

PS: I would like to take this time to apologize to all the other riders on busses that I made late to work trying to get lifts to work. :blush:
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lunamagica Donating Member (430 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-16-10 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. You are really brave!
Thank goodness for people like you who are not afraid to fight for what's right and fair, thus helping the rest of us so much.

Me, I'm pretty shy and wimpy. I hate to have people looking at me, or being the center of attention. To top it off, I speak with an accent, and when I become flustered or nervous it gets thicker. All of that made this experience awfully unpleasant

But I'll follow this up. I have to. Due to my immigration status I'll have to go back to renew again this June...... I hope I have the smarts, courage, serenity and strength to say/do the right thing.

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