Idaho

Idaho

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

Yes. The license application (first-time and renewal) asks if the applicant's "ability to operate a motor vehicle is affected by any physical or mental condition which brings about momentary or prolonged lapses of consciousness or control?" One of the examples of such a condition given is insulin dependent diabetes. Cf. Idaho Transp. Dept., Driver's License Unit, "Application for Extension of Idaho Driver's License," ITD 3153 (Rev. 06-13). The applicant must then certify that he or she is physically capable of operating a vehicle. Id. Applicants who answer "yes" to the first question, or who are unable to certify that they are physically capable, may need to fill out a medical evaluation form. For more information, see Idaho Transp. Dept., "Idaho Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards Fact Sheet," last modified Dec. 14th, 2012, (checking "yes" for insulin dependent diabetes or other listed conditions leads to an applicant being "denied a license" until he or she may "provide a written certification from a physician."

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 state accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from police officers, the courts, physicians, government agency employees, family members, and hospitals. The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports or referrals from the general public, nor does it investigate any of the reporting sources before it initiates an evaluation. Drivers also may be required to have a medical evaluation if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-202(11) (2013).

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

When the licensing agency becomes aware that an individual has a medical condition that may affect safe driving, the applicant is required to have a medical evaluation form completed by a physician. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-202(11) (2013). This medical form asks the physician whether there is evidence of a condition that will affect the individual's ability to drive a motor vehicle, whether the condition requires monitoring of the license (and at what frequency), and what restrictions, if any, should be placed on the license. The forms are returned to the licensing agency, which will generally follow the physician's recommendations as to whether a license should be granted and what restrictions should be imposed. Follow-up medical evaluations may be required, usually based on the physician's recommendation. The licensing agency normally may not suspend or revoke a driver's license or privileges for more than one year. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326 (5)(f) (2013).

Are physicians required by law to report drivers who have medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely?

There is no statutory authority requiring physicians to report drivers with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely to a central state agency.

Are physicians who report drivers with medical conditions immune from legal action by the patient?

Yes. A physician that submits a good faith report is immune from professional discipline, "monetary liability," and all legal causes of action. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(1)(c)(4) (2013).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Idaho relies on the recommendations of the applicant's physician as expressed on the medical evaluation form in determining whether an individual should be licensed and what restrictions, if any, should be placed on the license. Since Idaho does not have an independent medical advisory board to review the qualifications of drivers, the licensing agency retains authority to suspend, disqualify, or revoke the licensure or privileges of any individual based upon a medical condition that would render a driver incompetent to operate a motor vehicle safely. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(1)(c)(1) (2011).

What are the circumstances under which a driver may be required to undergo a medical evaluation?

An individual may be required to undergo a medical or visual evaluation "to protect the safety of the public upon the highways" based upon observations made by licensing personnel or other evidence. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-202(11) (2013).

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

No. Since it does not have a medical advisory board, Idaho generally relies on physician recommendations and has no written medical guidelines other than its vision standards and provisions regarding loss of consciousness. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(1)(c)(1)-(2) (2013).

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

A license will not be issued to any person "afflicted with or subject to any condition which brings about momentary or prolonged lapses of consciousness or control, which is or may become chronic." Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(1)(c)(1) (2013). The licensing agency makes licensing determinations based upon physicians' recommendations. Id. A license will be issued only when an applicant provides written certification from a physician that he or she can operate a motor vehicle safely. There is no statutorily specified episode-free period. For more information, see Idaho Transp. Dept., "Idaho Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards Fact Sheet," last modified Dec. 14th, 2012 (checking "yes" for experiencing loss of consciousness will lead to an applicant being "denied a license" until they "provide a written certification from a physician.").

Does the state allow for waivers of this policy, e.g., a waiver for a one-time episode of severe hypoglycemia that has mitigating factors (e.g., recent change in medication, illness, etc.) or that has been addressed with a physician?

No. There is no statutorily specified waiver of the policy regarding the licensure of drivers subject to loss of consciousness. To obtain a license, a driver so afflicted must provide written certification from a physician that he or she can operate a motor vehicle safely.

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

Upon the suspension, revocation, cancellation, or disqualification of licensure or driving privileges by the licensing agency, a driver may request a hearing with a hearing officer, which may be conducted via telephone within 20 days of the request, unless such time for a hearing is extended by 10 days upon a showing of good cause. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(4) (2013). Upon the occurrence of the hearing, the licensing agency may rescind or, with good cause, affirm or extend its order. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(4) (2013). A driver whose license has been cancelled, suspended, disqualified, revoked, or restricted also may file a petition for judicial review. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-330 (2013). Also, the licensing agency may reconsider its decision when new medical information becomes available.

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

There are no probationary licenses for an individual who has been denied a license; however, restrictions may be placed on a suspended license following a medical evaluation and a physician's recommendations. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-326(4) (2013) ("Whenever a driver's license, permit or driving privilege has been suspended or revoked by the department…the department may issue a temporary restricted permit restricting the time, area and purpose of use.").

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and a fee. See Idaho Code Ann. § 49-2444 (2013). There is no charge for an applicant who surrenders his or her driver's license due to medical reasons. Idaho Code Ann. § 49-322(5) (2013). For more information, see Idaho Transp. Dept., "Idaho Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards Fact Sheet," last modified Dec. 14th, 2012.

Resources

Driver licensing in Idaho is administered by the Division of Motor Vehicles within the state Transportation Department.