How does the DMV re-evaluate drivers? Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns weighs in


(WIVB) – Police say a 91-year-old got his foot pedals mixed up in the Tops parking lot on Orchard Park Road on Sunday afternoon. But licensing officials say safe driving is about more than a person’s age.

West Seneca police tweeted video of the incident in a Tops parking lot that lasted for less than 20 seconds – then they took it down.

A police spokesman told us the purpose of showing the accident was to inform the public about reporting unsafe drivers.

The car in the foreground had backed out of a parking space, and was still in reverse, the driver smashing the vehicle into the portable marker behind it.

The police report indicates a 91-year-old driver from Lackawanna slammed his Buick into a handicap parking sign, then slammed into the rear of a second car parked in the next row over.

“Driving is important to people for their independence, they go to church, the grocery store,” Mickey Kearns, Erie County Clerk. “So remember it is not based on someone’s age, it is based on their driving ability.”

That is why Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns says the state DMV does not require older drivers to be re-evaluated more frequently than younger drivers.

Damage to the Lackawanna man’s car was so serious it had to be towed.

Police are now filing papers to have the driver re-evaluated by the DMV.

“They look over that documentation to make an assessment, to make sure that person is in good physical health to drive,” Kearns said.

Kearns told us the re-evaluation procedure can be commenced by police, as the West Seneca Police are doing – a medical professional, or a private citizen, but the request for a re-evaluation cannot be anonymous.

But as a driver’s skills, their reactions, start to slow, Kearns says loved ones may have to intervene.

“And that is why it is very important for family members to be aware, to stay in contact with either older relatives, friends or neighbors, to make sure they are doing okay,” Kearns said.

Fortunately, there were no injuries in the parking lot mishap. Police did not issue the driver any citations, but DMV officials point out, once the re-evaluation is completed, the Lackawanna man could have his license suspended or revoked or he could give it up voluntarily.

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