Don't like my driving? Please don't dial the DMV


Scott Rohter must retake his driving test or relinquish his license because someone persuaded the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle office that he's a lousy driver.

The identity of the complainer is a secret, and that bothers Rohter almost as much as retaking the test.

"Now I have to take action to clear these allegations in this letter that I don't know who wrote, and I'll never know who wrote it," said Rohter, who lives in the Western Oregon town of Vida. "That's what's so disturbing to me."

The Legislature created the re-evaluation program in 1987, and it results in the retesting of about 2,000 drivers each year. DMV spokesman David House said the agency keeps the accuser's name confidential because he or she otherwise might not come forward.

"Oftentimes it's a touchy subject within the family, so the family turns to the DMV to do an impartial determination whether the person should continue driving, rather than have the family fight about it," House said.

But DMV records show that only a small percentage of complaints come from friends and family members. Most come from police, the courts or the DMV itself.

Although Rohter still doesn't know his accuser's identity, he did unearth, after six calls to the DMV, that the letter questioning his driving skills came from police.

"It's not somebody worried about getting excised from the will here," he said. "This is a misappropriation of their authority."

Rohter makes service calls until late at night in Eugene and Springfield for the appliance repair business he owns. He has been pulled over for weaving in the past month, but not cited. He is frustrated that, unlike the two traffic tickets on his record &

one for an illegal right turn and one for backing up on an off-ramp &

he can't face his accuser and the evidence against him.

The DMV declined to identify the officer or police agency and it also wouldn't provide a copy of the report. House said the driver can obtain such a report through a hearing or a lawsuit.

House said there are safeguards to prevent people from hassling others by filing unsubstantiated complaints. Reports must include the names of those filing them, and must detail specific incidents of unsafe driving.

If a driver passes a retesting, but is subject to another report of bad driving from the same reporter, the DMV will attempt to determine whether it's a feud-driven case of harassment.


Information from: The Register-Guard,

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