85-year-old man sues state for driver's license

9:22 PM, Sep 26, 2013   |    comments
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Carl Hainer

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- He's 85 and now the state says he can't drive. After failing two re-examinations, the Secretary of State says Carl Hainer may not drive unless he is accompanied by a certified driver's training instructor.

Hainer, of Grand Rapids, has a perfect driving record and even in his mid-80s, believes he is competent and safe behind the wheel. He thinks the state wants to remove elderly drivers from the road even when there is no reason.

Hainer tried and failed to get his license back in Kent County Circuit Court, so now he's suing the Secretary of State in federal court.

Hainer says his driver's license was restricted three days after his 85th birthday. He reported to the Secretary of State for a reexamination and passed the written test. Then he completed a road test.

"They said I had some minor faults and then they went on to exaggerate those faults and restrict my drivers license," Hainer explained.

After a few months, Hainer says the Secretary of State continued to pursue him. "We went on a ride and I felt the examination was not fair; I felt they had a vindictive attitude towards older people."

Hainer first sued in Kent County Circuit Court. "They didn't seem to grasp the whole story: Intrusion without probable cause. It's an injustice."

The Secretary of State says Hainer has a clean driving record and they say they called him in because of a tip, possibly from a family member, who said he might not be a safe driver anymore.

Hainer says some of his children hinted that he should no longer be driving, but none of them admitted to reporting him to the state.

"I've always been a do-it-yourselfer; I always did for myself," said Hainer. "I don't like others to do for me what I feel I can still do for myself. I don't feel like I'm ready to be kicked to the curb."

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