The new Massachusetts Safe Driving Law (PDF) , which takes effect in October, contains an important provision regarding the reporting, to the Mass. RMV, of drivers who may be physically or mentally capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. The new law allows doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed healthcare professionals, as well as police officers, to file medical evaluation requests with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
If any of the above-listed professionals have good faith concerns, based on personal knowledge, that a Massachusetts licensed driver may have an issue which is preventing him or her from operating safely, they are allowed by law to file a report with the Registry. Within 30 days of receipt of the report, the Mass. RMV is required to conduct a review to determine whether the driver in question has the capacity to operate safely. Reports filed under this law are required to be kept confidential and are to be used only by the Mass. Registry to determine whether to issue or suspend someone’s driver’s license.
To encourage the filing of reports, the new safe driving law makes police officers and medical professionals immune from suits for reporting in good faith and for failing to file potentially dangerous driving reports with the Registry.
This new law may increase the number of immediate threat medical or “complaint medical” suspensions which the Driver Control Unit of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles issues. Anyone who has his or her license suspended due to a medical reason has a right to appeal the suspension first to the Registry and then to the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance. The Registry of Motor Vehicles does not charge reinstatement fees for medical license suspensions. More information on the new Massachusetts Safe Driving Law will follow as it becomes available.