SALT LAKE CITY — Many Utah residents lie about their medical conditions so they can keep driving without restrictions, state officials said.
The state relies on people to report medical conditions themselves, which creates a scenario where lying is a plausible way to stay behind the wheel, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2sePXL5 ).
Authorities catch about 15-20 people lying every month about their medical conditions, Clark Caras, director of the Utah Driver License Division, told legislators on Tuesday. Sen Howard Stephenson asked Caras if the state has any estimates of how many total people are lying to remain on the road. Caras responded that total estimates don’t exist, nor does a plan on how to stop the lying.
People with obvious problems that officials notice as they apply for licenses are referred for further testing, Caras said. But employees have to see such impairment themselves to act — and that does not happen with the people who apply to renew licenses online or by mail.
Drivers who lie about medical conditions could be criminally charged for filling out a false form, but that rarely happens, Caras said. A more serious threat to violators is in potential civil lawsuits over any damage or injuries in a car accident, he said.
“If it comes out that someone lied about a condition, the attorney for the other side would be all over that,” Caras said.
Lawmakers are reviewing whether to formalize state rules from what are now 78 pages of guidelines about how and when a variety of ailments should trigger driving restrictions.
Caras warned that such a change could lead to slowing down any needed revisions to those guidelines.
Among conditions required to be reported to the state by drivers are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary conditions, neurological conditions, seizures and epilepsy, learning and memory disorders, psychiatric and emotional conditions, alcohol and drug use, visual disorders, alertness and sleep disorder, musculoskeletal abnormalities, and hearing and balance disorders.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com