What is a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation

What is the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation?  Whenever a new California driver applies for their original driver license, they must be properly vetted and qualified.  This examination process includes several steps:

  • A background check to confirm proper identity
  • A background check to confirm valid residency in the State of California
  • A written examination to test a person’s knowledge of laws and roadway signs
  • A vision test
  • A “Behind the Wheel” driving test to ensure the person possesses the skill to drive.

The “behind the wheel” test taken by all original applicants is referred to as the Driving Performance Evaluation (DPE).  The DPE is specifically designed to test a person’s knowledge of the safe operation of a motor vehicle in a variety of environments.

Once the California Driver License is issued, the DMV will monitor the driver for the remainder of their driving life to ensure they always maintain the ability to safely drive.  If at any point, the DMV receives information or suspects that a driver may have developed a physical or mental condition that makes them unsafe to drive; or if the DMV suspects the person no longer possesses the skill to drive, the department will “re-examine” that driver to determine if there is good cause to suspend or revoke the driver license.

As part of the “Re-Examination” process, it is common for the DMV to require the driver to take a Supplemental Driving Performance Examination (SDPE).  The SDPE is specifically designed to evaluate the driving skills of drivers who may have developed problems with vision, hearing or any other type of physical or mental condition that makes them unsafe to drive.

Although the DMV adamantly denies focusing upon mature drivers, there is no secret that the vast majority of drivers subjected to the SDPE are those who are older than 55 years of age.  The reality of life is that as we age, our bodies tend to betray us.  As our population ages, senior drivers are becoming the focus of DMV administrative suspensions in alarming numbers.  This being said however, the DMV will vigorously re-examine any driver, at any age, if they believe there is cause.

Because the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation tends to focus more on a person’s physical and mental ability to drive, the test can seem more difficult than the original Driving Performance Evaluation that we took when we were young.  Combine that with the fact that drivers will develop bad habits over years of driving; and the anxiety that can occur when driving with an examiner in the car, and the SDPE can be quite challenging.

What happens if I fail the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation? At the end of a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE), the driving examiner should discuss the results with the driver.  He or she should point out any errors that were made and spend additional time discussing any “critical errors.”  The examiner should provide the driver with a copy of the evaluation checklist and then tell the driver to expect contact from the Driver Safety Office.

Once the evaluation is complete, the driving examiner is required to write a report that is forwarded to a Hearing Officer at the local Driver Safety Office.  In most instances, the failure to pass a SDPE will result in an Order of Suspension.  The suspension will likely be based upon a physical or mental condition or because the failure means you Lack the Skill to drive.

The opportunity to take the SDPE multiple times is not guaranteed. It has been the DMV’s practice however, to allow a person to challenge the SDPE more than once provided there is no immediate hazard to the public and provided there appears to be improvement with each attempt.

In almost all instances, navigating the DMV process can be quite frustrating and is not “user friendly.”  If you are facing the suspension of your driver license for any reason, including the failure to pass a SDPE, you are entitled to be represented by an expert in DMV Defense.  You don’t have to fight the DMV alone.

If the DMV is suspending your driver license contact CDA.  We can help!  The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been fighting to protect the driving privilege of Californians for many years.  The California Department of Motor Vehicles is armed with an entire litany of reasons to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege.  With very few exceptions, the DMV must provide a driver the opportunity to defend themselves.  California law permits any accused driver to be represented by a professional who knows how to beat the DMV at their own game.

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By | 2017-05-07T05:03:48+00:00 June 20th, 2016|Lack of Skill, Re-Examiniation Hearings|0 Comments

About the Author:

Rob Collier
Mr. Collier served with distinction as a Law Enforcement Specialist with the United States Air Force and received an honorable discharge. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Security Police Academy and the United States Army Police Investigators School. While stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Mr. Collier was one of the first Security Police Specialists to provide “close‐in” security for Space Shuttle Missions when that program was new. Mr. Collier is a Distinguished Graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Academy (Class 228) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics School (SWAT). He received specialized training in basic accident investigation and determining speed from skids at the San Bernardino Sheriff Academy. For nearly 15 years, Mr. Collier was the Operations Officer for one of the most prominent specialty DUI law firms in the country. Reporting directly to that firm’s owner, Mr. Collier directed the day to day operations of DUI attorneys, investigators, expert witnesses and support staff. He developed the firm’s “white glove” policy of client care that is now the hallmark of our company. He has been involved in the preparation, investigation, and presentation of literally thousands of DMV administrative hearings throughout Southern California. Receiving hands on training from defense attorneys, retired DMV hearing officers, and some of the best scientific experts in the field, Mr. Collier possesses a unique level of experience; making him a true expert in the field of Administrative Advocacy. Mr. Collier is our Chief Advocate and available to represent clients in all categories of DMV hearings in California. If your case is assigned to one of our other professional advocates, Mr. Collier will personally review and supervise each case. He is accessible to each and every one of our clients.