PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Santa Monica police have ordered the 84-year-old woman ticketed for hitting Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon in a crosswalk to head to the nearest DMV and retake her driver’s test.
SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis said it is not uncommon for police to ask the DMV to conduct a full re-examination if they believe a driver shows signs of diminished ability or a lack of knowledge of the rules of the road.
The elderly driver, a Santa Monica resident, has 30 days to report to a DMV field office, where she will most likely have to take the written test, have an eye examination and get behind the wheel with a driver safety hearing officer. She may also have to go in for a checkup with her physician and give the DMV a list of any medications she’s taking.
“The reexamination could result in a medical probation or the revocation of the license or a restricted license. It all depends on the findings,” said Jaime Garza, a spokesman with the DMV.
Any driver, regardless of age, may be ordered by law enforcement to submit to a reexamination.
Drivers who are older than 70 are required by law to visit a DMV office every five years to renew their license, Garza said. This can involve a vision and written test. If the driver fails an eye test, they are given a chance to go to their eye doctor to get their vision corrected and then they are allowed to re-take the test.
Santa Monica police ordered an elderly woman to visit the DMV for a reexamination earlier this year after she drove onto the Main Street Fourth of July Parade route and struck a child, causing minor injuries, Lewis said. The woman was driving without a license after failing a reissuing test months prior.
The DMV has a Senior Ombudsman Office to help older drivers by offering tips and learning tools to keep them driving safely. The southern California office can be reached at (310) 412-6103.
“Every time an incident like this happens, everyone starts to question a senior’s ability to drive,” Garza said. “Perspective: A national study found that senior drivers are five-and-a-half times less likely to be involved in a crash as someone who is between 16-20 years old.”
US Weekly is reporting that Witherspoon, 35, who won the Oscar for portraying June Carter Cash in the bio-pic “Walk the Line,” will not press charges against the driver who hit her while she was jogging on Georgina Avenue. Witherspoon sustained a minor cut to the forehead.