Connecticut

Connecticut

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

Both first-time and renewal license applicants must sign a medical certification statement that they do not have any health problems or conditions that prevent them from driving safely. Conn. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Application for a Non-Commercial Learner Permit and/or Driver License," R-229, Rev. 12-2012; see also Conn. Gen. Stat§ 14-36(e) (4) (2013) (authorizing requests for medical information). There is simple true/false check-box. Id. There is no list of medical conditions on the form to assist an applicant in self reporting a medical condition. Id. Failure to check the box might mean that the driver will be required to submit a medical report. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6 (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-36 (2013).

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 physicians, optometrists, medical professionals, law enforcement professionals, licensing agency employees, and "any person acting in good faith." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46f (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46 (2013) (physicians and optometrists); Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6 (2013) (law enforcement professionals). Anonymous referrals are not accepted. All reports or records must be made available to the driver. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46d (2013). Only reliable information is accepted. This requires a written, signed report from a person in the medical or law enforcement profession. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6(a) (2013). Any other person must have personal knowledge, and sign a statement under oath. Id.

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, if they are involved in a crash where there is reason to believe a medical condition may have played a role, or if they are reapplying for a license that has been expired for more than two years. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-45a (2013) (requiring vision exam, and authorizing regulations for other conditions).

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

If the licensing agency receives reliable information, from any of the above sources, that a driver has an unsafe health problem or disability, it will begin a medical evaluation. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6 (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-36 (2013). In urgent cases, where there is an immediate risk of danger, the licensing agency may immediately suspend a driver's license, without a hearing or review. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-7(b) (2013). In most cases, it will begin a medical evaluation. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-7(a) (2013). A driver who does complete the evaluation is considered unfit to drive until they comply with the evaluation. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46e(b)(2013).

There is a specific form for people with diabetes. Conn. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Diabetes Medical Report," P-142D Rev. 4-2011. This form asks questions about blood glucose levels, use of insulin or oral medications, hypoglycemic episodes and how they are treated, and other complications of diabetes. Id. Questions about retinopathy, neuropathy, and loss of consciousness are also included. Id. The physician must sign and submit this report. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6 (2013). Most forms must be submitted within 30 days. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-9(d). Physical examination reports cannot be more than 90 days old. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-9(c).

The licensing agency will review the report, and, if necessary, ask for additional examinations or information. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6(a)-(b) (2013). The agency can ask for a full on-the-road driving evaluation at any time. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-9 (2013). The agency usually follows the medical professionals' recommendations in making its decision whether the driver is a danger to public safety. Id. It may suspend, revoke, or place restrictions on a driver's license. Id. Follow-up medical evaluations may be required for chronic or reoccurring conditions if either the applicant's physician or the medical advisory board recommends them. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-9(e) (2013); see also Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46a - §14-46g (2009) (describing medical evaluation process).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Most licensing decisions are made by staff in the Medical Review Unit within the licensing agency. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6(a)-(b) (2013). If a driver has experienced medical episodes within the last six months, the case will be referred to the Medical Advisory Board. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6(a)-(b) (2013). The licensing agency can also request the "advice and recommendation" of the Board if it needs additional help in making its decision. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-10 (2013).

The board reviews medical information, personal interviews, and additional medical reports, upon request. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46c (2013). The Board follows formal procedures when reviewing medical information. See Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-11 – 13 for procedures of Board (detailing procedures); see also Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-8 (2013) (describing standards for medical decisions). While the recommendations of the board play a significant role in the department's decision making process, the final decision of whether to deny a license or to issue a license lies within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46e (a) (2013); Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-14(2013) (decisions "advisory.")

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

No. However, Connecticut has published guidelines for that allow the licensing agency to request detailed information about diabetes. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-8(e) (2013). This can include information about blood glucose levels, complications, and medications. Id. Also, physicians fill out a specific form for people with diabetes. Conn. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Application for a Non-Commercial Learner Permit and/or Driver License," R-229, Rev. 12-2012 (see above).

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

A physician determines why the loss of consciousness occurred and whether the condition is stabilized. If an episode has occurred within the last six months, the individual will be referred to the medical advisory board for an evaluation. Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 14-45a-6(c) (2013). A one-time, now-controlled episode is generally eligible for licensure, although the case may be referred to the medical advisory board. Periodic or uncontrolled episodes are not eligible for licensure until the condition is stabilized and recommendations are given by the medical advisory board.

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

A person whose license is denied, suspended, restricted, or revoked has a right to an appeal. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46g (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46g (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-40c (2013). The request for the appeal must be in writing. The case will be heard by officers of the licensing agency. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-4a (2013). This is a formal hearing, with formal procedures. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46g (2013) (citing to procedures of Chapter 54). If the person does not agree with the hearing officer's decision, he or she has the option to request reconsideration, in writing, within 15 days, or may file a court appeal within 30 days.

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

Yes. Physicians, physician's assistants, and optometrists are immune from civil liability for reporting a patient's unsafe health problems or loses of consciousness. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46 (2013). Licensing agency employees and the Medical Advisory Board members are also immune from civil liability. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-46f (2013). The reports must be made in good faith and without negligence or malice. Id.

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

The applicant may have a restricted license if he or she is not medically qualified for a full license but can still meet the minimum medical requirements for a restricted license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-36(e)(4) (2013). Licenses can include restrictions such as daylight driving only or non limited access highways only.

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification. Should a person decide to relinquish driver's license for an ID card due to medical reasons, the individual is entitled to a card at no cost.

Resources

Driver licensing in Connecticut is administered by the State Department of Motor Vehicles.