Kentucky

Kentucky

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

The driver's license application (first-time and renewal) asks an applicant whether he or she has any physical or mental conditions which affect his or her driving abilities, whether he or she has had a seizure or blackout within the previous 90 days, and whether he or she has had a blackout within the last three years. If an applicant answers yes to any of these questions, he or she is required to have a medical examination and evaluation performed by a physician of his or her choice. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013) (requiring applicants with seizure conditions to submit to medical evaluation); 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090, Sec. 4 (LexisNexis 2013) (requiring drivers with loss of consciousness or physical or mental conditions interfering with safe driving to submit to medical evaluation).

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, physicians, government attorneys, courts, licensing agency staff, and other "citizens." 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 4 (2)-(4) (LexisNexis 2013). Anonymous reports are not accepted, and reports are not investigated by the licensing agency before the driver is contacted. To report a driver to the Medical Review Board, an individual must submit an affidavit. See Kentucky Transp. Cabinet, Div. of Driver Licensing, "Medical Review Board Affidavit," Form TC 94-61 (06/2011). Two such affidavits from citizens required to compel a driver to submit to a medical evaluation. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec.4(2) (2013). A single report from a police officer, physician, or licensing agency official will trigger an evaluation. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 4(3)-(7) (LexisNexis 2013). An examination of the driver's qualifications may also be triggered by a report that a driver suffered a blackout prior to an accident, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 4(1) (LexisNexis 2013), or by the observations of licensing agency personnel during the application or renewal process, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 4(6) (LexisNexis 2013). For more information, see Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, "Kentucky Medical Review Board Program."

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

If the licensing agency receives notice that a person who holds or has applied for a driver's license has a medical condition that could impair his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely (including diabetes), either because of answers to questions on the license application or one of the other sources listed above, and believes that the condition could interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle, that individual must undergo a medical evaluation by a physician of his or her choosing, at personal expense, within 45 days. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 2(1)-(3) (LexisNexis 2013). The report must be made on Form TC 94-86, and the physician must submit it directly to the Division of Driver Licensing before the 45-day period expires. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 2(3) (LexisNexis 2013). The medical evaluation form contains questions about the type of diabetes, insulin or other medications used, the presence of neuropathy or other complications that could affect driving, significant hypoglycemic episodes in the past year, alcohol or drug use that could interfere with treatment, and whether the patient is compliant with medication.

Licensing agency personnel then will evaluate the report according to the applicable medical standards. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 2(4)(a) (LexisNexis 2013); see also 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 (LexisNexis 2013) (specifying the applicable medical standards). Complicated cases are referred to the Medical Review Board for recommendations as to licensure, restrictions, and follow-up examinations. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 2(4)(b)-(c) (LexisNexis 2013). An applicant will be notified of any further testing that is deemed to be necessary. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec.2(4)(d) (LexisNexis 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. The driver must self-report any medical conditions that negatively affect driving skills. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec.2(2) (LexisNexis 2013).

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

A physician that provides information concerning an individual's seizure condition to the licensing agency or the Medical Advisory Board is not subject to civil or criminal liability for doing so, absent a showing of bad faith. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(5) (2013).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Licensing agency personnel normally make licensing decisions based on the medical information submitted. When the reviewers of the medical forms encounter a case in which medical or rehabilitation expertise is needed to evaluate driving ability, they will refer the case to the state's independent Medical Review Board. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.444(1) (2013); 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 2(4)(b) (LexisNexis 2013).

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

A driver may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she (1) has indicated that he or she "blacked out," lost consciousness, or suffered a seizure prior to a reportable motor vehicle accident; (2) has been named in an affidavit by at least two citizens as being incapable of properly operating a motor vehicle due to physical or mental infirmities; (3) has been reported by a physician as being incapable of driving safely due to physical or mental condition or due to medication prescribed for an extended time; (4) has been reported by a law enforcement officer or a Kentucky State Police license examiner who has reason to believe or who has observed him or her driving or behaving in an erratic or dangerous manner which indicates a possibility of a physical or mental disability which may impair his or her driving ability; (5) has indicated on the application form that he or she has a physical or mental disability which may impair his or her driving ability; (6) is indicated in licensing agency records as possibly having a physical or mental impairment; (7) has been reported by a commonwealth attorney, county attorney, county clerk, circuit clerk, sheriff, or judge as being incapable of driving due to a physical or mental impairment; or (8) has reported to the Transportation Cabinet or Medical Review Board that he or she has a mental or physical impairment. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090Sec. 4(1)-(8) (LexisNexis 2013); see also Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013) (requiring applicants with seizure conditions to undergo medical evaluations).

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

Yes. No diabetic neuropathy or other complications that interfere with safe operation of a motor vehicle may be present at the time of application or renewal of a driver's license. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 6(3)(a) (LexisNexis 2013). An applicant also may not be licensed if he or she has frequent or impairing episodes of hypoglycemia, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 6(3)(b) (2013), or if there is evidence of alcohol or drug use sufficient to interfere with his or her diabetes management program, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 6(3)(c) (LexisNexis 2013). Furthermore, individuals with diabetes may be required to supply information relating to their "endocrine functional abilities and disorders" to the licensing agency. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec.6(2) (LexisNexis 2013).

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

Any episode of loss of consciousness results in a 90-day suspension. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 8(3)(a) (LexisNexis 2013). A first-time or renewal applicant must remain-episode free for 90 days following his or her last known episode in order to receive a license. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013). The applicant must present to the Division of Driver Licensing certification by a physician that his or her condition is controlled by drugs, details of the drugs, dosages which the person takes, and that the person has been free of any seizures for 90 days. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013). The applicant also must present his or her own statement that he or she has been free of any seizures for 90 days before the date of the application and that he or she is taking the medication prescribed by his or her physician. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013). When the Division of Driver Licensing has received both documents, it will issue the applicant a letter of authorization to present to the circuit clerk, who will not issue a license to the applicant until the letter of authorization has been delivered. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(1) (2013).

Furthermore, the licensing agency will not issue a driver's license to any individual that does not adequately compensate for any paralysis or sensory deficit when operating a motor vehicle; when fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, or tremor at rest impair safe driving; when effects or side effects of medication interfere with safe driving; or when an individual experiences a decline in cognition that could affect safe driving. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 8(3)(b)-(e) (LexisNexis 2013). Also, individuals subject to episodes of loss of consciousness may be required to supply information relating to their "neurological or neuromuscular functional abilities and disorders" to the licensing agency. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec.8(2) (LexisNexis 2013). A person whose seizure condition is of a nature that it would not impair his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle may present evidence of this fact to the licensing agency, including the person's own attested statement, a physician's statement, and medicine dosage details. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(4) (2013). If the licensing agency determines that the person's condition does not impair his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, it will issue a letter of authorization enabling the person to obtain a driver's license. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(4) (2013). Decisions of the Division of Driver Licensing may be appealed under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.411(2)-(3) (2013). For more information, see Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, "Kentucky Medical Review Board Program."

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 episodes of loss of consciousness. If an individual's license has been denied, suspended, or revoked for reasons relating to loss of consciousness, he or she may appeal the decision, as described below.

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

An individual has the right to an informal hearing before the Medical Review Board and must request a hearing in writing within 20 days of the first-class mailing of notice of a decision to suspend or restrict his or her license. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 3(1) (LexisNexis 2013); see generally Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.570(4) (2013) (providing for informal review of adverse licensing decisions). The Board then will schedule a hearing as early as practicable and mail notice to the petitioner no later than 10 days prior. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. (2) (LexisNexis 2013). An individual may introduce evidence and testimony at such a hearing to demonstrate that he or she is qualified to operate a motor vehicle safely. 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 3(4)-(6) (LexisNexis 2013). The Board will issue a decision within 10 working days, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 3(8) (LexisNexis 2013), and the individual may appeal this decision through a formal administrative hearing, 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:090 Sec. 3 (9) (LexisNexis 2013). See Albert Jones Act of 1994, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13B.005-.170 (2013) (providing governing procedures for formal administrative review). If the circuit clerk refuses to issue a license, an individual may appeal to the Transportation Cabinet, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.580(1) (2013), and if an individual remains aggrieved by the final order of the cabinet, he or she may file a petition for appeal in the Circuit Court of the county in which he or she resides or in the Franklin Circuit Court, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.580(2) (2013).

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

Yes. See 601 Ky. Admin. Regs. 13:100 Sec. 12 (LexisNexis 2013). However, because of the relatively short episode-free period, probationary licenses are seldom issued.

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and payment of a fee. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.410(3) (2013); Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.412(7) (2013). The fee required to obtain an identification card is $12.00. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.531(1)(f) (2013). An identification card is valid for four years from the date of issuance. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 186.412(7)(d) (2013). For more information, see Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, "Driver License, ID Card & General Information."

Resources

Driver licensing in Kentucky is administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.