Are applicants for a driver's license asked questions about diabetes?
The license application (first-time and renewal) asks if an applicant is subject to fainting spells or seizures of any kind, or has a condition that makes him or her appear intoxicated. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-9-2(a)(7) (2013); Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-9(c) (2013). It also asks if an applicant has any physical or mental disability and the nature of that disability. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-9-2(a)(11) (2013). Applicants who answer "yes" to the first question must have their physicians submit medical evaluations. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-9(c) (2013). Applicants who answer "yes" to the second question will be interviewed by licensing agency personnel and may be required to obtain a physician's medical evaluation, based on the results of this interview. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-9-2(a)(11) (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?
A standard form provided by the licensing agency allows people to request a review of an individual's driving ability. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Request for Driving Ability Review," State Form 54750 (7-11). This form provides check boxes for law enforcement, physicians, prosecutors, guardians, individuals with power of attorney, licensing agency personnel, and "other" reporting individuals. Id. The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports and does not 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 Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-4(b) (2013).
What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?
When the licensing agency has good cause to believe that an individual has a medical condition that may affect safe driving, or a condition that causes an individual to appear intoxicated, the applicant is required to have a medical evaluation form completed by a physician. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-9(c) (2013). The physician may attest that the individual 1) has an existing medical condition that causes fainting spells or seizures, but is under medication, or 2) has an existing medical condition that may cause him or her to appear intoxicated. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Physician's Certificate of Medical Impairment," State Form 50018 (R2/ 12-11). The agency may request additional information or examinations. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-4(b) (2013). When any medical evaluation forms are returned to the licensing agency, it is forwarded to the state's independent Medical Advisory Board for a recommendation. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-7(a) (2013). The licensing agency relies on this recommendation to either grant the license, suspend it, or place restrictions upon it. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-7(b) (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 the state licensing agency. However, physicians and others that diagnose, treat, provide, or care for persons with disabilities shall report any disabling conditions to the state board of health within 60 days. Ind. Code Ann. § 16-40-1-2 (2013).
Are physicians who report drivers with medical conditions immune from legal action by the patient?
A physician, optometrist, or advanced practice nurse that has personally examined an individual not more than 30 days before making a report is not civilly or criminally liable, so long as the report was in good faith. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-7.5 (2013). In addition, members of the Medical Advisory Board are immune from liability for any action taken in good faith. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-14-4-6 (2013). Licensing agency examiners are also immune from liability. Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-4(e)(3) (2013).
Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?
All medical evaluation cases are referred to the state's Driver Licensing Medical Advisory Board, which makes recommendations that are generally followed by the licensing agency. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-14-4-4(1) (2013).
What are the circumstances under which a driver may be required to undergo a medical evaluation?
The licensing agency may require an examination, an investigation, or both if an individual indicates on an application he or she has been subject to fainting spells, seizures or other unsafe conditions. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-6(a) (2013); Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-2-3(a) (2013). An individual also may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she has an impairment observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-6(a)(2) (2013). Finally, any information that has "come to the attention" of the licensing agency may be used to require an examination. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-6(a)(4) (2013).
Has the state adopted specific policies about whether people with diabetes are allowed to drive?
No. Indiana has no specific guidelines relating to diabetes other than its guidelines relating to episodes of loss of consciousness or the appearance of intoxication due to a medical condition. However, diabetes is listed as a disability that may require a "Medical Condition" restriction. For more information, see Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Endorsements/ Restrictions" (Accessed Aug. 2013).
What is the state's policy about episodes of altered consciousness or loss of consciousness that may be due to diabetes?
When applying for a first-time or renewal license, an applicant must report whether he or she has been subject to fainting spells or seizures, or a condition that causes the appearance of intoxication. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-9-2(a)(7). This applicant will require a medical evaluation, and must obtain a physician's certificate. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-9(c)(2013). In order to obtain a license, the physician must certify that the individual is "under medication" and is "free from fainting spells or seizures." Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Physician's Certificate of Medical Impairment," State Form 50018 (R2/ 12-11). This certificate must be carried in the vehicle the individual operates, and must be renewed each time the individual's license is renewed. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-9(c)(2013)(c). Failure to report under this section is an infraction, punishable by a fine. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-9-6 (2013).
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?
The medical certificate must certify that the individual is free from fainting spells or seizures. There are no statutory timelines for how long the individual must be free from these losses of consciousness.
What is the process for appealing a decision of the state regarding a driver's license?
An individual may appeal an adverse licensing decision to the Driver Licensing Medical Advisory Board. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-14-4-4(3) (2013). In addition, judicial review of licensing decisions is available the circuit court or superior court of the county in which the licensed driver resides. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-10-7(d) (2013).
May an individual whose license is suspended or denied because of diabetes receive a probationary or restricted license?
There are no probationary licenses. See Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-15-1(a)(2)(A) (2013) (stating that the statutory provisions concerning restricted licenses are inapplicable when a driver's license had been suspended because of physical instability). However, when issuing licenses, the licensing agency may, whenever good cause appears, impose restrictions appropriate to assure the safe operation of a motor vehicle, including a requirement to take prescribed medication. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-11-7 (2013). For more information, see Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Endorsements/ Restrictions," (Accessed Aug. 2013).
Is an identification card available for non-drivers?
Yes, with proper identification. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-16-1 (2013); see also 140 Ind. Admin. Code 7-1.1-3 (2013) (specifying identification card documentation requirements). A fee of $3.50 is charged to individuals at least sixty-five years of age or individuals with physical disabilities and not entitled to obtain driver's licenses, and a fee of $6.00 is charged to all other applicants. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-29-9-15 (2013). Identification cards must be issued without payment of a fee to individuals not possessing valid driver's licenses and who will be 18 years of age at the next general, municipal, or special election. Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-16-10(b) (2013). For more information, see Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, "Identification Cards."
Driver licensing in Indiana is administered by the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles.