Colorado

Colorado

Are applicants for a driver's license asked questions about diabetes?

Both first-time and renewal applicants must answer a question about medical conditions when they complete the license application. See C.R.S. 42-2-111(1)(a) (licensing agency may require applicant to complete any necessary "physical and mental examination") The application asks whether the applicant has during the past two years had diabetes or any other condition that would have affected his or her ability to drive safely. Any person who answers yes to this question must submit a medical evaluation. See 1 CCR. 204-26 (2013); C.R.S. 42-2-111(3)(a) (2012) (if the licensing agency has "evidence that indicates that a licensed driver…is incompetent…it may…require such driver to submit to an examination.")

What other ways does the state have to find out about people who may not be able to drive safely because of a medical condition?

The licensing agency accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from the following sources, in the following ways: 1) Law enforcement officers with a "valid reason" may submit a reexamination form. This request is analyzed by the licensing agency. 2) A court may send a letter. 3) Physicians or optometrists may send a letter. 4) Close relatives may make a written request stating reason for the re-exam or medical requirement. Close relatives include spouses, parents, and children. The person making the request must sign their name. These requests are not confidential. 1 CCR 204-26(A)(1)(a) (2013).

Drivers may also be required to have a medical evaluation if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process. 1 CCR 204-26(1) (2013). If a driver is involved in multiple crashes in a three year period, or a fatal accident at any time, that deriver must complete a reexamination. 1 CCR 204-26(C) (2013).

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

When the licensing agency becomes aware that a person has a medical condition that could impair safe driving performance (either through the license application or through another source), it will send written notice within 10 days of this determination. C.R.S. 42-2-111(3)(a) (2012). Refusal to submit to the evaluation is grounds for suspension. C.R.S. 42-2-111(3)(c) (2012). The notice may either indicate that a pending "medical cancel and deny" or a pending re-examination. 1 CCR 204-26(B)(1)-(2) (2013). For a medical cancel and deny notice, the driver must submit an approved "Confidential Medical/Eye Exam Report" to the licensing agency. 1 CCR 204-26(B)(1) (2013). The agency suspends the driver' license if it does not receive the form within 30 days, and cancels the license if it does not receive it within 90 days. Id.

A physician or optometrist must complete this medical evaluation form. C.R.S. 42-2-112(1)-(2) (2012). The physician may be chosen either by the licensing agency, or the driver. Id. This form asks whether the medical history indicates episodes of loss of consciousness, and if "Yes," date of onset, frequency, dates of last two episodes, descriptions, and probable diagnosis. See Colo. Div. of Motor Vehicles, "Confidential Medical /Eye Examination Report," DR 2401 (11/28/05) (as of Aug. 2013, the DR 2401 form is no longer available on the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles website). The form asks the physician whether a patient's diabetes is "normal" or abnormal, and asks the physician to describe the patient's diabetes in detail. Id. There are no more specific questions about diabetes.

The physician is asked to indicate on the form whether authorization of a driving privilege is medically prudent, from the assessment of the medical history, physical examination and laboratory data, and in consideration of public safety. Id. If the physician recommends that the individual be allowed to drive, the individual will generally be allowed to drive as long as he or she passes a vision test, written test and road test. However, the agency has power to suspend, revoke, or place restrictions on the license. C.R.S. 42-2-111(c) (2012). The licensing agency does not require follow-up medical reports or examinations, unless the driver's license is cancelled and must be reinstated.

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Colorado's medical review program is administered by non-medical administrative staff who generally rely on physician recommendations. The licensing agency has the ultimate authority to make licensing decision. See C.R.S. 42-2-122 (2012). Colorado does not have a medical advisory board.

Has the state adopted specific policies about whether people with diabetes are allowed to drive?

No. Colorado generally relies on physician recommendations and has no written medical guidelines specific to diabetes.

What is the state's policy about episodes of altered consciousness or loss of consciousness that may be due to diabetes?

If there is any episode of loss of consciousness, the licensing agency requires a medical evaluation (through the procedure described above) and follows the physician's recommendations. The standard form asks whether the patient has had "seizures of lapses of consciousness." See Colo. Div. of Motor Vehicles, "Confidential Medical /Eye Examination Report," DR 2401 (11/28/05) (as of Aug. 2013, the DR 2401 form is no longer available on the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles website). If the answer is "Yes," the physician must describe the onset, dates frequency, details, and probable prognosis for any seizures or loss of consciousness. Id. There are no specific statutes or regulations requiring an episode free period.

What is the process for appealing a decision of the state regarding a driver's license?

There is an appeal process for drivers whose license is cancelled or restricted for medical conditions or functional impairments. C.R.S. 42-2-122 (2012). Drivers may request a hearing by the state within 30 days from the date of the decision, and may appeal the decision of the state after the hearing to the district court. C.R.S. 42-2-122 (2012); C.R.S. 42-2-135 (2012); see also C.R.S. 24-4-106 (2012) (describing in detail the judicial review process).

Are physicians who report drivers with medical conditions (either by law or on a volunteer basis) immune from legal action by the patient?

Yes. Any physician, physician's assistant, or optometrist licensed to practice in Colorado is immune from criminal or civil action so long as their medical opinion was in good faith and without malice. C.R.S. 42-2-112(3) (2012).

May an individual whose license is suspended or denied because of diabetes receive a probationary or restricted license?

Yes, based on a physician's recommendation. Limitations such as daylight driving only, or restricted areas, or restricted speed limits may be required. C.R.S. 42-2-116 (2012). The licensing agency may issue either a "special, restricted license," or may put restrictions or conditions on the "usual license." Id. The driver may request a hearing to contest this recommendation. Id. A driver who knowingly breaks these restrictions may be guilty of a misdemeanor. C.R.S. 42-2-138 (2012).

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and proof of residency. C.R.S. 42-2-302 (2012).

Resources

Driver licensing in Colorado is administered by the Motor Vehicle Business Group within the state Department of Revenue.