Doctors could report patients with impaired driving ability under N.J. measure

Health conditions could keep some New Jersey drivers off the road if a bill under discussion in the Legislature is enacted.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin proposed the measure that would allow a doctor or psychologist to tell the Motor Vehicle Commission about a patient with a health problem that impairs driving ability.

“It takes off what can often be a frustrating situation for medical professionals who recognize that this person should not be driving but don’t have the ability to do it,” said Coughlin, D-Middlesex.

But the bill is too broad, said Assemblywoman Betty DeCroce, R-Morris.

“Many adults have ADD, ADHT, they take medication. ADD, they’re distracted, they could be tired,” she said. “So is that a condition that now they have to have something written about them and maybe they cannot drive?”

And Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver sees the measure as an unwarranted intrusion on residents’ civil rights.

“To what degree does a citizen in the state have the ability to have open discussion and seek all kinds of comprehensive treatment from their physician without having to worry that their physician is going to submit a form to Motor Vehicles telling them that they cannot drive?” said Oliver, D-Essex.

The Assembly Transportation Committee discussed the bill, but took no action on it.

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