Current and former servicemembers living in Georgia could soon add a new piece of information to their driver’s license: a PTSD diagnosis.
Under a law recently pushed through the state legislature, post-traumatic stress disorder would be noted on the license in the same way that a person’s license might indicate corrective lenses are required for vision, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adding the information would be voluntary and require a sworn statement from a doctor. If signed by the governor, the bill would become law on July 1.
Sen. Ron Ramsey, the bill’s sponsor, told the paper that the bill came at the suggestion of a former servicemember with post-traumatic stress disorder, who told him he feared a violent encounter with police officers.
“He said, ‘God forbid anybody put handcuffs on me. I’d go berserk’,” the senator said.
Sen. John Douglas, an Army veteran who co-sponsored the bill, said the information on the license would let police know they might deal with a person differently.
“The police officer would know that a sudden move [by the motorist] wasn’t necessarily an offensive move,” Douglas told the Journal-Constitution.
But the bill’s detractors question whether someone would put such personal information on their driver’s license.
“Why would I want to put out there on my license – hey, I’m a nut job,” said Marvin Myers, president of the Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance Inc.
And Lea R. Flowers, an assistant professor in Georgia State University’s Department of Counseling & Psychological Services, wonders about the precedent it would set.
“But it could be a slippery slope,” she said. “Will we offer that for bipolar? Schizophrenia?”