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Discrimination Lawsuit Against NCDMV Will Go Forward

License plates, tag.

A federal judge says he will not dismiss a lawsuit against the North Carolina DMV that accuses the department of discriminating against drivers with disabilities. 

The complaint was filed by the group Disability Rights North Carolina

It says DMV workers are using the state's Medical Evaluation Program to target disabled drivers for further review when they apply for licenses. 

The program allows anyone to request a medical evaluation if he or she believes a driver can not safely operate a motor vehicle. 

Disability Rights executive director Vicki Smith says there is no clear indication as to who might be an unsafe driver or who's being singled out because of a disability.

"What might be an indicator that they have a disability is that they walk into a DMV office with a cane. That in and of itself would trigger this more in-depth review, not the fact that they were involved in an accident or they were driving unsafely.  It's arbitrary," Smith says.

"We have examples of situations where driving aids or restrictions were added that didn't seem at all connected with the medical review."

DMV spokesman Brian Smith said he could not comment about an ongoing lawsuit, but he says drivers can appeal restrictions placed on their licenses due to a medical evaluation, and "the division's concern is about safety of the motoring public."

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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