Identifying At-Risk Drivers: A Survey of State Programs: Final Report

Report No: 91-R12

Published in 1990

About the report:

Motor vehicle administrators have long realized that certain drivers present more of safety problem than others. Tests of static visual acuity, knowledge of the rules of the road, and on-the-road driving performance are used to ensure that each driver displays a specified level of competence before being licensed to drive. However, experience has shown that these tests alone are not adequate to detect all persons who might present a safety hazard to themselves and others when driving. Concern that a driver's license could be obtained by persons who may not be competent to drive safely and concern for providing for the special needs of Virginia residents prompted the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to request that the Virginia Transportation Research Council conduct a study of ways to identify and deal with groups of persons whose driving behavior places them in an at-risk category. Six groups of drivers who were hypothesized to be at risk were selected for study: motorcyclists, young drivers, older drivers, medically impaired drivers, substance abusers, and non-English-speaking and illiterate drivers. First, a literature review was conducted to determine whether decrements in driving ability and performance could be scientifically documented for these six groups of drivers. Second, six questionnaires, one for each group, were sent to the 50 states to gather information on whether these groups are handled differently than the general population. Further, those states with special practices concentrated on the six groups were asked to provide information on the laws and policies, procedures, and programs designed to deal with them.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Janice V. Alcee, Jack D. Jernigan, Charles B. Stoke

Last updated: December 26, 2023

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