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Winter 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 1
Missouri Law on Reporting Unfit Drivers Serves as Model for Other States
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) recently completed a project to examine Missouri's voluntary reporting law for unsafe drivers. The law provides a process for citizens to report potentially unsafe drivers for retesting or possible license revocation and provides immunity protection for those reporting. The evaluators concluded that the law is working well and should be a model for other states to adopt.
The Missouri law emphasizes that licensing decisions are based on a person's functional performance and medical fitness, rather than chronological age. However, the average age of reported drivers was 80 years old. Under the law, the identity of the reporter is kept confidential. The law also protects physicians and other professionals against breach of patient confidentiality claims.
Researchers found that most reported drivers voluntarily gave up their licenses. At the completion of the study, only 144 of the 4,100 reported drivers retained their valid licenses. While the law has been found to be effective, researchers note that it is under-utilized (primarily used by police officers or license staff), and they encourage further public education so more physicians, family members and other stakeholders are aware of it.
The findings reinforce AAAFTS's national license policy recommendations set earlier this year, including: increased educational efforts, promotion of civil immunity, amplified role of license office staff, the establishment of Medical Advisory Boards (MABs), and the promotion of additional mobility options for unlicensed drivers.
The full report is available online at www.aaafoundation.org.