State officials in Montana have made a breakthrough in a law that affects the ability of people suffering from brain injuries to begin or continue their assimilation into society. Fifty-seven year old Jay Barrow has long suffered from a brain injury, which has left him dealing with bouts of epilepsy and seizures; however, he has also done whatever he can to lead a typical life and support himself through daily activities like grocery shopping or attending church services. To do this, Barrow has been illegally driving a golf cart to and from the store.
But thanks to a new law, Barrow is no longer worried about being arrested. People suffering from brain injuries in Montana can now apply for a special driver’s license that would allow them to operate a vehicle such as a golf cart or another low-speed electric vehicle up to speeds of 40 mph. Barrow told the Daily Inter Lake that he has never broached speeds above 20 mph and he has never had an accident, as he typically sticks to back roads and avoids putting other drivers in harm’s way.
While Barrow is currently the first and only person in this entire state to take and pass this special drivers test and obtain this license. As of Jan. 1, 2013, anyone in the state who has previously been disallowed to operate a motor vehicle because of a brain injury will be allowed to first receive a medical evaluation to determine if they qualify for the program. If the evaluation clears these patients, they will then be able to take the written test, and if they pass, they will be qualified to take the subsequent road test.
The changes to the state’s laws surprisingly didn’t come as the result of efforts by Barrow. Another person had actually pushed for Montana to allow people with brain injuries to operate low-speed vehicles. However, that person has yet to receive a license, leaving Barrow as the only person with that distinction.
Written By Ashley Burns