Mark Overland gave up active 15 years ago because of his deteriorating… (Los Angeles Times )
Have you heard the one about the dark man who absolved into the Department of Motor Vehicles appointment in Santa Monica, took an eye ysis and larboard with a new driver’s license?
OK, that’s not 100% accurate. He didn’t airing out with his new license; it accustomed in the mail two weeks later.
The man, 72-year-old Mark Overland of Pacific Palisades, is accurately blind, with 94% of his eyes gone. Aback Overland aboriginal told me about his adventure, he said he didn’t appetite anyone at the DMV to lose a job over this. But he acquainted like it was account speaking up.
“I accept assured that changes charge to be fabricated in the DMV eyes testing process,” he said with adroit understatement.
Overland is a lawyer, and his affair about aged and broken drivers has a history to it. He was the aegis advocate for George Russell Weller, the 86-year-old man who bashed through the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market in 2003, abrogation 10 bodies asleep and 68 injured. Russell, who was bedevilled of vehicular assassination but didn’t serve time because of declining health, said he had accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes.
Handling the case fabricated Overland accord some anticipation to whether there should be stricter screening of drivers with health- or age-related problems.
“I see bodies accepting into cars who accept no business driving,” Overland said. He gave the archetype of an aged gent he saw inching forth with a ambler at the Bel-Air Bay Club. “He got into a big Buick and collection away.”
Sometimes age has annihilation to do with it. Reckless drivers can be young, old and in between.
But my Dad was one of those guys who could almost airing and still insisted on driving. Despite abounding affirmation to the contrary, he claimed he was a bigger disciplinarian than 90% of the added bodies out there. I accepted that he capital to authority on to a amount of adeptness as his limitations mounted, but we were adored from accepting to pry the keys out of his easily alone by his acceptable so ill that active was no best a consideration.
Overland gave up active 15 years ago because of his breakable vision. But he kept renewing his authorization by mail for the account of accepting a accurate ID. Bristles years ago, aback he got a authorization face-lifting form, he noticed a allocation that asked if he had any beheld crime that would affect his driving.
“I arrested off ‘yes.'”
The aing band asked what that adeptness be, and Overland wrote “retinitis pigmentosa.” That’s a accelerating action in which borderline eyes is lost. Overland has a attenuated adit of vision, and can see appealing able-bodied aural that field. But annihilation to the appropriate or left, up or down, is absent to him. He was added than a little afraid again to get his authorization in the mail a brace of weeks later.
When Overland got his latest face-lifting apprehension a ages ago, it instructed him to go to a DMV appointment for a accounting ysis and eye exam. He was ytical to see what would appear if he didn’t acknowledgment his disability, so he went to the DMV on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, with his babe Courtney accomplishing the driving. Overland anticipation briefly about entering the appointment with his white cane, but absitively adjoin it, and Courtney instead served as his guide.
Overland was alleged to the adverse by a agent and told to apprehend the eye blueprint on the aback wall.
“I’m attractive around, and I can’t acquisition it because it’s not in my band of vision,” Overland said.
He amid it bound abundant and was able to apprehend best of the letters, but not all of them. The agent again had him associate into a apparatus for addition eye test. Overland began to read, but Courtney watched the agent coil his face and ask her Dad:
“Sir, what are you reading?”
Overland was attractive at article added than the eye chart, which he hadn’t yet located. Redirecting his band of vision, he begin the blueprint and did able-bodied abundant to pass. He afterwards aced the accounting test, larboard the architecture at his daughter’s side, and his new authorization accustomed in the mail two weeks later.
When I arrested with the DMV, I begin that anyone with retinitis pigmentosa is appropriate to booty a active test, and if you fail, your authorization is revoked. DMV backer Jessica Gonzalez couldn’t say why Overland wasn’t ordered to booty a ysis bristles years ago, aback he wrote his action on his face-lifting form.
She did say that in 2011, about 41,000 bodies were appropriate to prove their adeptness to drive afterwards apropos about their active were appear by police, doctors, friends, neighbors or admired ones. The affidavit cited included dementia, concrete disabilities, eyes loss, crime due to booze or drugs, and aloof apparent awful driving. In the end, 38,256 of those appear aftermost year had their licenses abeyant or revoked.
Now that he’s told his story, Mark Overland may be the aing Californian to lose his license, but if his artlessness prevents an accident, he won’t mind. If you apperceive addition who may be an alarming driver, you can anonymously accomplish a appeal for a alteration that is handled in confidence. The DMV may ask the disciplinarian for medical records, ysis with a doctor or crave a active test.
For added information, go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov and address “unsafe driver” in the chase field.
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