GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Grand Rapids man who’s been driving for the past 70 years said he is the victim of age discrimination. The Secretary of State restricted Carl Hainer’s license and now he plans to sue to get it back.
Hainer said just three days after his 85th birthday he received a letter from the SOS asking him to fill out the included health forms and come into a branch for a driving exam.
Hainer said the timing of the letter makes him feel as if he was targeted due to his age, not his ability to drive a car.
He said it’s a rare occasion when he does get behind the wheel of his Ford Explorer, only driving about 10 miles a week to the grocery, the pharmacy and the doctor’s office.
They were trips he used to take alone. “Yesterday, my son took us to the supermarket,” he said.
Due to Hainer’s restricted license, he is compelled by law to have a licensed driver accompany him whenever he chooses to drive.
A restriction that he said tugs at his pride.
“It feels like you can still do things yourself that you are not allowed to do,” he said, fighting back tears. “You are getting kicked to the curb before your time.”
It’s something he plans to fight in federal court. Hainer admits that he failed a driving test given by the Secretary of State after he turned 85 but he argues the test should never have been given in the first place.
“I felt I was profiled and age discriminated against then,” he said.
We spoke with Fred Woodhams from the Secretary of State’s Office who said they will administer tests to drivers when they get written complaints. Typically those complaints come from family members, police or a doctor.
Woodhams said it happens about 400 times a month in Michigan. The referral form can be filled out by visiting the Secretary of State’s website.
Hainer said he doesn’t know who would have referred him to take a test with the SOS and is skeptical that anyone did in this case.
He has already tried to fight his case in a Kent County Circuit Court, the case was thrown out.
“The judge didn’t get the scope of the initial intrusion,” said Hainer. “They just got the tail end there where I failed my test.”
Hainer does not have a court date set in federal court and said he plans to see it through because he’s convinced other people are in his same position.