Q: I often drive down to Main Street and park at a meter. On occasion I have seen meters that indicate “Fail” or are broken. What happens if I park at a broken meter? Am I allowed to?

A: Yes, you are allowed to do so. If the meter indicates “Fail” or is broken you can still park your vehicle there. Traffic services officers will mark or chalk your tire according to how long the sign allows your vehicle to park there. For example, if the sign indicates it is a two hour meter, then you can park your vehicle there for two hours without being cited. Should you exceed your time and receive a citation, the violation would be for parking your vehicle over the indicated time and not for having an expired meter. It is important to take the time to read all posted signs and remember that parking restrictions can vary from one meter to the next.

Not all cities allow vehicles to park at a broken meter, however, the city of Santa Monica does. Make sure you check with your city before parking at a broken meter so you don’t receive a citation.

Q: There have been some publicized car accidents which the police stated that they were going to order the driver to undergo a driver reexamination. Why would someone need to have their license reexamined and how would they go about doing so? And what happens thereafter?

A: Law enforcement officers may request a driver to undergo a license reexamination when the officer either stops a person for a traffic law violation, or is at an accident scene, and it appears the driver involved is unsafe, usually due to health reasons. A “Request for Priority Reexamination” is an expedited process used when the peace officer believes the driver is unsafe and should not continue driving.

There are also many other reasons as to why someone would need to have their license reexamined. The Department of Motor Vehicles is required by law to investigate and reexamine your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely due to the reporting of a physical or mental condition or certain entries on your driving record. The DMV receives information from many sources, such as:

• Your physician or surgeon, who is required by law to report to the DMV certain conditions or disorders characterized by loss of consciousness or control, including Alzheimer’s disease. The law also allows them to report other conditions which, in their opinion, may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

• Emergency medical personnel who may see you in an emergency facility due to a sudden loss of consciousness, awareness, or control.

• Unsolicited letters from family members, friends, or neighbors who report that you may no longer be able to drive safely.

• Your driver’s license application or renewal-by-mail notice where you indicate that you have a disease, disorder, or disability that affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

• Your driving record which indicates accidents, traffic law convictions, reckless, negligent or incompetent driving habits, fraudulent use of a driver’s license, or other grounds which would cause DMV to refuse a driver’s license.

Once the DMV is made aware that you have a medical condition that may cause a potential driving risk to yourself or others, or your driving record indicates negligent driving activity, the DMV will evaluate you to ensure you can drive safely. The DMV may do one or more of the following:

• Request medical information from you. If it is clear from the medical information that you do not present a driving risk, DMV’s investigation may end and no action will be taken against your driving privilege.

• Conduct a “regular” reexamination. The reexamination may be in-person or conducted over the telephone. You may be required to present medical information and submit to a law, vision, and driving test, if appropriate.

• Conduct a Priority Reexamination. If you were served with a “Notice of Priority Reexamination,” you must contact Driver Safety within five days. If you do not contact Driver Safety, your driving privilege will be suspended. You are required to submit to a law, vision, and driving test and present medical information.

• Take an immediate suspension or revocation action of your driving privilege if your physical or mental condition presents an immediate threat to public safety.

What decision can the DMV make?

After a reexamination, the DMV hearing officer will do one of the following administrative actions:

• No action: Your condition or driving record does not warrant an action against your driving privilege.

• Medical probation (Type I): You must comply with your medical regimen and report to DMV any changes in your medical condition.

• Medical probation (Type II): Your physician must submit periodic medical reports to the DMV on specified dates.

• Calendar reexamination: You are required to appear for a follow up reexamination.

• Restriction: You may only operate a motor vehicle under specific conditions and circumstances, such as driving during daylight hours only, driving within certain geographical areas, or having your vehicle equipped with specialized equipment.

• Suspension: Your driving privilege is suspended for an indefinite period of time. Your driving privilege can be reinstated if you can show that you are compensating for a physical or mental condition, or your driving behavior no longer presents a safety risk and there is no other action in effect.

• Revocation: Your driving privilege is terminated. Generally this action is taken when your physical or mental condition is so severe it does not appear likely that your condition will ever improve, or a driving incident is so severe that you present a safety risk.

The above information was provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, www.dmv.ca.gov.

This column was prepared by NRO Marilyn Amiache (Beat 2: Lincoln Boulevard to Ocean Front Walk, Interstate 10 to Ozone Avenue). She can be reached at (424) 200-0682 or marilyn.amiache@smgov.net.

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