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DOT, Department of Licensing Discriminate Against Cane Users?

When did the Department of Transportation begin discriminating against physically challenged cane users and seniors?  Seniors since most cane users I have seen are seniors.  Has the discrimination been there long?

The rule isn’t mentioned nor stated on the DOT Driver’s License Division web site that all cane users must retake the driving test to renew their license.  I did not see it there and last Wednesday I walked into the license place unprepared for the long wait for nothing.

After driving there and waiting almost an hour for my number 383 to be called, I was told I would have to take the driver’s test because all cane users must take it.  She didn’t care that mine are walking sticks so I said okay, let’s go and learned the driver’s test is given once a week on Fridays.  I pointed out that nothing was mentioned on the web site and she apparently logged into it and looked but finally muttered, “it must the there – somewhere.”

I pointed out the wasted time and energy – gas – to get there only to be told of the cane mandatory retesting and it could not be done then.  The retesting is not an issue.  The wasted time and gas to get there was pointless when cane users could have phoned for an appointment and made one trip.

When we got home, I called the DOT to complain and after a 10 – 15 minute ‘hold’ was told they could not take phone appointments because they couldn’t believe what anyone told them over the phone – they had to be seen in person.  Oh, please!  What non-cane user would call and tell them they use canes to walk and want to make the appointment to take the driver’s test?  Nobody I know.

Again – why are seniors and cane users discriminated against by the DOT, Division of Licensing?

An update of yesterday’s driving test later…thanks for reading…. Sharon O’Hara

8 thoughts on “DOT, Department of Licensing Discriminate Against Cane Users?

  1. Sharon,
    I go up to Shelton much easier. The customer service person told an older gentleman with a cane, to come back in without the cane and he could renew the license. I double he would have been able, he was so feeble.

  2. I suppose this is the statute DOL is relying on, but I’m a little surprised that DOL doesn’t make it obvious to people somewhere in their public information. Only a little surprised, mind you. 😉

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.20.041

    Here is the first part of it:

    “(1) If the department has reason to believe that a person is suffering from a physical or mental disability or disease that may affect that person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle, the department must evaluate whether the person is able to safely drive a motor vehicle. As part of the evaluation:

    (a) The department shall permit the person to demonstrate personally that notwithstanding the disability or disease he or she is able to safely drive a motor vehicle.”

  3. Phyllis – Shelton would have been the same with a blanket ‘tag’ anyone with a cane ‘rule’ to take the driving test over. Darn, didn’t think of it, thanks…

    Bob – You’re right thank you.
    I’ve read that part of it and its reasonable. What is not reasonable is to tag every single person using a cane to take the drivers test. That is what I was told – every person using a cane takes the drivers test. That is not reasonable and wastes time and energy of the cane user and license agency.
    Folks with canes or walking sticks should be able to make the appointment by phone for the mandatory driving test and it should be on their website.

    My left hip is bone on bone and has nothing to do with how I drive once I’m in the car. If it were my right leg, I wouldn’t be able to drive.

    Mark… my walking sticks don’t have the same affect as canes. 🙂

    Thanks Phylis, Bob and Mark for commenting … Sharon

  4. This does seem discriminatory. Even though this could be seen as violating privacy, it seems there should at least be an inquiry as to what type of injury or disability requires the cane, and then if is just one foot/leg, which one. If is left foot/leg, make sure the driver is not driving a stick shift. If is right foot/leg, then I could see taking some sort of test.

    I broke my left leg a few years ago and had a cast up to my knee. Got a special disabled parking ticket from license bureau but nobody asked me to take a driver’s test (or even if I would be driving a stick shift, but maybe they assume those w/broken left legs wouldn’t do so). I fail to see how people who need canes should be treated differently.

    It’s appalling that their website did not give hours for the driving test too! Of what use is the website? Our tax dollars probably pay for at least a couple full-time workers to keep the website maintained too.

    1. heybooboo…I was asked and told her it was bone on bone left hip that didn’t make a difference in my driving. She absolutely stated all people using a cane had to take the test. My objection is only the duplication of time and effort to get there for cane walkers (seniors?) only.
      I’ll venture a guess you are not a senior citizen, therefore not of special interest to them…only guessing here.
      Thanks for writing… Sharon

  5. I have not problem with enforcing the law.
    That law is that you should be reasonably capable for operating a motor vehicle.

    If you can not make the cut, I do feel for you.
    But the other driver, bike rider or pedestrian on and near the road way that you hit may not be so forgiving.

    There are modifications made to vehicles for handicapped drivers.
    But if they are unable to pass the driving test with the modification then you are not granted a license.

    It is not discriminatory to enforce the law.

    1. Mike – I have no problem with laws. I am capable of operating a motor vehicle and have for fifty years or so.
      I’ve never hit anyone…nor do I want to. I do not have a ‘handicapped’ sticker for my car because I am not handicapped…only physically challenged.

      It IS discriminatory to give unreasonable attention to seniors who use walking sticks and cause undo hardship and unnecessary cost of time and effort to make them drive twice to do what non-cane using folks do to renew their license.
      If I cannot make the cut, I should not be driving. And won’t be in about 1.5 hours.

      I question the possibility of unfair treatment of seniors with canes v. non-seniors from the DOT, Dept. of Licensing.

      If, all of a sudden, because I now have need of walking sticks, am declared incapable of driving – then test all of us over the age of 65. ALL of us.

      I suggest also the use of video cameras on each and every driving test to ensure equality of test results.
      Thanks for your comments… Sharon

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