I had my hearing at the DMV on September 11th, about 3 weeks after I received the notice of my suspension. I had got my doctor to complete another medical evaluation form, with specific instructions on what information he needed to provide, hoping this would be sufficient for them to make a decision this time.
My hearing was in Oakland with Ms. Joseph, who was very friendly and understanding. She reviewed my medical form, but since the doctor had ticked the box that he didn’t know if an adaptive aid would help compensate for my disability she wasn’t able to say I’d be safe to drive. My options were to wait until I had a prosthesis and take a driving test or undergo an adaptive driver evaluation course at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Fortunately, as you know I’ve been in the final stages of getting my new arm so I opted for the re-test on the basis I’d have my arm by then…this seemed to be the quickest path. Ms. Joseph scheduled my test for the 21st in Walnut Creek…just over a month after my suspension.
And so I found myself at the DMV office ready for my drive test in my little, red Toyota Prius. My instructor came out, went through a vehicle inspection and then we were off. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I assumed it would be unlikely that the instructor would have any experience with upper limb amputees, but lo and behold he proceeded to tell me about his good friend, a pediatrician, who had lost his right had in Vietnam as a surgeon and how well he got on with his prosthetic. Also his cousin made prosthetics for children…strange how fate can lend a helping hand.
Anyhow, I made a show of using my prosthetic to aid driving, at least it makes reaching the indicators on the left a little easier. We drove around Walnut Creek for 20 minutes or so, ending up back at the DMV. The instructor then told me I had passed with only 2 errors out of a possible 20! Now I just had to wait 5-10 business days to be notified I was free to drive again.
To my surprise, the next morning I got a call from Ms. Joseph to say she had received the report and spoken to the instructor at DMV who felt that I didn’t really need the prosthetic to drive since I had good control with just my right hand…which is what I’d been saying all along. She asked if I’d like to take another test without my arm or otherwise she’d lift my suspension with the restriction I drive with it. I opted for the later, anything to get back on the road again, and so she lifted the suspension there and then!
The irony was, I’d just dropped my arm into Hanger for some adjustments the day before after the test, so driving would have to wait until Monday when I could pick it up.
It’s been a little frustrating to say the least, but all in all the DMV have been pretty good and I’m back to driving again without any concerns over legality. Oh, and I also picked up my new license plate…