During a traffic contact with an older driver, law enforcement is not expected to diagnose medical issues. However, you, as a law enforcement officer, may need to judge the driver’s cognitive or physical abilities to determine the need for a licensing referral or additional assistance. Using the tools listed below will allow you to quickly decide how to best serve the individual being contacted, either in making a referral for a medical review or obtaining other help, if necessary. Tools are available in both paper and smartphone formats.

Driver Orientation Screen for Cognitive Impairment (DOSCI)

DOSCI is a short questionnaire that enables officers to screen for cognitive impairment. It is research based and can be used in every state. DOSCI enables you to gauge the level of the situation when pulling over an older driver. Completing the DOSCI provides a scored outcome to indicate if the individual should be referred.

Cognitive and Medical Assessment Tools

Visual, cognitive, and physical skills affect driving ability and decline with increasing age. Older drivers often have difficulty seeing objects at dusk and in the evening. Judgment may become impaired, making them less able to react at higher speeds and take turns safely in front of oncoming traffic. Medical conditions, such as arthritis or weakening muscles and joints, can also make it challenging to safely operate a vehicle.

  • The American Society on Aging (ASA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have developed driving resources for multiple conditions, including cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, sleep apnea, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.
  • Identifying Cognitive Impairment or Medically At-Risk Drivers Reference Guide for Law Enforcement by Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.
  • Maryland’s Red Flag tool and a video of their process of referring drivers to the DMV.
  • The IACP has developed an evaluation card to help law enforcement personnel identify and evaluate an at-risk adult's orientation and memory. This tool also provides recommendations for the next steps should you identify someone who is exhibiting impaired orientation and memory.