Petitioning State Senator Gary Farmer

Stop state of Florida DMV from targeting disabled individuals for license suspension

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Florida's new license system now requires you have to appear at a DMV office for the initial renewal. The DMV has been targeting individuals with visible disabilities even if they have a clean driving record and threatening to suspend your license. Five years ago I got nerve damage to my right lower arm but I have been driving that way for five years without any issues. When I went to renew my license this week the clerk immediately said she had concerns about my ability to drive safely and started talking about suspending my license. At first they tried to bully me into surrendering my license voluntarily. When I objected to this they told me I would have to take the skills test that same day. I later found out even if you have to retake the test you are supposed to be given a minimum of five days notice. They also have to allow for adaptions when you take the test under ADA rules. I believe the DMV is discriminating against disabled individuals and basing their decisions solely on the fact the person has a disability regardless of how safe their driving record is.   

Taking away a disabled person's ability to drive should be done only when absolutely necessary and with due process. For many people, losing the ability to drive means losing their independence or even employment if they work. At the very least, DMV should be made to follow their own protocol and should be made to allow the disabled person to have a fair chance to retain or get a driver's license. So far I have talked to two other people who have had similar experiences at Florida DMV. I believe targeting people based solely on their disability rather than driving record is a violation of ADA. Florida DMV workers currently have carte blanc to intimidate people and label them as "unsafe" drivers. 

I appeal to Mr. Farmer and other members of the Florida legislature to introduce a bill that would at least give disabled people due process rights and protect them from this type of harassment. I understand there are some unsafe drivers on the road that need to stop driving; However Florida DMV has to stop this current witch hunt. There needs to be a balance between the duty of the state to remove unsafe drivers and the rights of disabled Florida citizens to be subject to harassment and unwarranted threats to lose their license.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • State Senator
    Gary Farmer


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