Mississippi

Mississippi

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

The driver's license application for drivers 17 or older asks whether an applicant currently is being treated for diabetes and whether he or she currently is taking a shot or pill for treatment. The application for 15-16 year old, however, does not expressly ask any questions about diabetes. Both versions of the application ask whether an applicant has any physical defect that would interfere with his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. See Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-19(1)(a) (2013) (providing that the licensing application shall ask "whether [an applicant] has any physical defects which would interfere with his [or her] operating a motor vehicle safely upon the highways"). If an applicant answers yes to this question, he or she may be required to have a physician complete a medical evaluation form.

For more information, see Miss. Dept. of Pub. Safety, "Instructions for 17 and Older Applicants," (Accessed Aug. 2013); Miss. Dept. of Pub. Safety, "Application for Mississippi Driver's License," (Accessed Aug. 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 state accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from any citizen with knowledge of improper or inadequate driving skills. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(1)(a) (2013). The report must be in writing to the Driver Improvement Branch of the licensing agency. Id. Physicians may attest to the competence of an individual. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(1)(b) (2013). Investigating officers reporting an accident may note that a driver requires reexamination. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(1)(c) (2013). The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports and does not investigate any of the reporting sources before it begins an evaluation of a driver. All reports are confidential. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(1)(c) (2013). Drivers also may be required to have medical evaluations if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.2(2),(5) (2013).

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

When the licensing agency has reason to believe that a driver may be medically unsafe to operate a motor vehicle, it may require the individual to have a medical evaluation. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.2(5) (2013). A written referral by a physician or a licensing examiner may lead to an immediate suspension. See CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.2(5) (2013) (licensing official); CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(2)(b) (2013)(physician); Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(2)(e) (2013) (authorizing the licensing agency to suspend an individual's license without hearing if the individual is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle). The licensing agency hearing board will review the case and schedule a hearing within 10 working days of receiving a physician's report. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(2)(b) (2013). The driver must then submit a medical evaluation form. Id. The evaluation may be reviewed by the state Medical Review board. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(2)(d) (2013). The licensing agency will then determine whether a re-test is necessary, or whether the license should be suspended indefinitely. Id. Periodic follow-up medical evaluations are generally not required.

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?

There is no statutory authority providing immunity from civil or criminal liability for physicians who report drivers with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely to a central state agency.

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Decisions generally are made by licensing agency personnel. See, e.g., Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(2)(a)-(j) (2013) (authorizing the licensing agency to suspend an individual's driver's license in a number of circumstances). Some cases may be referred to the state's independent Medical Review Board for recommendations. The licensing agency makes the final decision. See CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(2)(d) (2013).

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 evaluation if he or she gives affirmative answers to medical questions on the license application, if he or she has impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process, or if he or she is reported to the licensing agency as a potentially unsafe driver. See CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(1) (2013); CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.2(2),(5) (2013). An individual also may be required to undergo a medical evaluation when seeking judicial review of a decision of the licensing agency to suspend, revoke, or deny his or her license. See Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(3) (2013) (describing request for hearing process).

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

No. Mississippi has adopted no specific medical guidelines related to diabetes, except for its guidelines related to episodes of loss of consciousness.

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

There are no specific rules related to diabetes. In general, an applicant who indicates dizzy spells, fainting or seizures may be questioned by licensing officials and required to submit a medical evaluation. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.2(2)(2013); CMSR 31-000-01 r. 2.6(11) (2013). Mississippi Highway Patrol officials may need to respond in writing for approval or disapproval of a licensing application. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 2.6(11) (2013). It is the licensing agency's policy that an individual must be free of seizures for six months before obtaining a license. CMSR 31-000-01 Rule 9.4(2)(e). If driver's license has been suspended, the individual must wait six months after the suspension before driving privileges may be reinstated. Id.

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?

There are no specific regulatory or statutory exceptions to the licensing agency's six month seizure-free policy.

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

If an individual's license application has been denied, he or she may file within 60 days a petition for a hearing in the county circuit or chancery court of the county in which the application was filed. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-31 (2013). The hearing may occur within 5 days notice to the licensing agency, at a location of the court's choosing. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-31 (2011). Both the petitioner and the licensing agency may present evidence and testimony, and the court will render a decision as to the matter of the denial of the license application. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-31 (2013).

Alternately, if an individual's license has been suspended because he or she is medically unqualified to operate a motor vehicle, see Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(2)(e) (2013), he or she may request an administrative hearing to review the decision as early as practicable, but not to exceed 20 days after the licensing agency receives such a request. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(3) (2013). At the hearing, the licensing agency may introduce evidence and testimony and may require the petitioner to undergo a reexamination. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(3) (2013). Following the hearing, the licensing agency may rescind any suspension or, with good cause, extend any suspension or revoke the petitioner's license. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-53(3) (2013); see also CMSR 31-000-01 r. 9.4(4) (2013) (driver may appeal to licensing agency hearing board if found medically unsafe, and may appeal to commissioner of public safety if license suspended).

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

No.

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes. Any individual 6 years of age or older may be issued an identification card. Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-3(1) (2013). To obtain an identification card, an individual must present proof of identity, Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-5 (2013), and pay a fee of $11.00, plus a supplemental photograph fee. Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-7(4)-(5) (2013). An identification card is valid for a four-year period. Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-7(1) (2013). An individual whose driver's license is voluntarily surrendered or suspended by the licensing agency for medical reasons may obtain an identification card free of charge. Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-7(6) (2013). Additionally, if an individual wishes to receive a special driver's license or identification card identifying him- or herself as a diabetic, he or she may ask a physician to complete the Certification of Diabetes form, which the individual then will submit to the licensing agency. CMSR 31-000-01 r. 7.5 (2013).

Driver licensing in Mississippi is administered by the state Department of Public Safety.