I just got a mailing from the state EPA informing me that my father's drivers license will be suspended if he does not take his van to a testing station by February 1, 2006. My father has been dead since August 30, and the state has been so informed. The van in question has changed hands twice since then and the state has been so informed (it would be mighty hard to sell it without informing them). So much for the efficiency of state law enforcement.
More to the point, about four years ago I tried to get my father's driver's license suspended after he he had an accident (in a shower, not a car) resulting in second and third degree burns over about 20% of his body, and a six week hospital stay followed by months of physical and mental rehabilitation for conditions including severe dementia. After weeks of going around with the DMV and his doctor, I got him and the doctor to agree he would give up his license until he could pass a state drivnig test. The next week he got in the van and went to the DMV and passed the test. For about two years after this, he repeatedly got into fender-benders and parking lot scrapes, mostly because he could not see or sense motion around him well enough to tell where his vehicle was or what hazards were around him, even when those "hazards" were cars parked next to him in a parking lot (of which he sideswiped two that I know of and who knows how many that I don't). At one point during this time, he pulled up in front of my house, hit my car parked at the curb and put two wheels on the parkway while parallel parking, then argued with me about whether or not I was going to let him drive my children and me to dinner. Needless to say, I drove that evening -- and took him to the hospital the next day after he collapsed at his apartment.
It is only by luck and the grace of God that my father did not kill or severely injure someone during this period. His driving skills were obviously deficient. Yet they were somehow good enough to pass a state driving test.
While I tried repeatedly to get his license suspended or revoked during this time, I must admit I wasn't as aggressive as I might have been. On the other hand, the state was not at all cooperative, and the fact that he was able to pass the test suggests to me that the test is a joke. He was obviously incompetent to drive, yet the attempts of my brothers and sisters and me to do something about it were repeatedly thwarted until I basically stole his van to keep him from driving.
So I'm still wondering where was the state EPA when I needed them? And why is it you can get your license suspended for not getting your emissions test, but not for not being able to drive? Major cluster f*ck.
And oh, yeah -- if our columnist friend had to put his bike down to avoid colliding with a quick-stopping SUV, he needs some training or some work on his bike. Not that that excuses inattention on the part of the cell-phone wielding driver, but it's a given if you want to survive on a bike you need to be alert and keep your bike in good repair. You surely can't rely on law enforcement to keep incompetent drivers off the road.