Nebraska

Nebraska

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

The driver's license application (first-time and renewal) asks an applicant about loss of consciousness from diabetes or other conditions. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-484(1)(c)(A), (2)(c)(A) (2012). The application also asks whether an applicant has any condition that would affect his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle and whether, since the issuance of his or her last driver's license, his or her condition has worsened or changed. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-484(1)(c)(B)-(C), (2)(c)(B)-(C) (2012). Nebraska Dept. Of Motor Vehicles, "New and Renewal Permit, Car, Motorcycle, and State ID Card Data Form," Form 06-104 (Rev. 05/2012). If an applicant answers yes to one of these questions, he or she is required to have a physician complete a medical evaluation form. (Statement of Physician). Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,118(3), -4,118.01(3) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A3 (2011).

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, family members, friends, and hospitals. Reports are reviewed to ensure their legitimacy, particularly those submitted by sources other than police officers and medical professionals. The person making the report must submit a copy of his or her driver's license with the report, and may authorize release of all information related to the report. Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Citizen Reexamination Report," Form DMV06-12-A (Rev. 09/2012). Requests by police officers may lead to immediate medical review. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118(4)(a) (2012). Drivers also may be required to have medical evaluations if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118(3) (2012).

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, either because the driver has given positive answers to medical questions on the license application or because of a report from one of the other sources listed above, it will require the individual to have a medical evaluation. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,118(3), -4,118.01(3) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01 (2013). When this happens, an evaluation form is sent to the individual, which must be completed by his or her physician. 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A (2013). The medical evaluation form asks about the type of diabetes, medications (insulin or oral medications) being taken, frequency of hypoglycemic reactions, the presence of renal disease or vision problems, and certain laboratory tests. Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Statement of Physician" Form DMV06-19 TSIE5 07/12 (Rev. 07/2012). The physician is also asked to indicate whether the individual is mentally and physically capable of operating a motor vehicle safely; what kinds of licensing restrictions are recommended; and whether the person's medical condition has significantly worsened or another condition has developed. Medical evaluation forms must be completed and returned to the licensing agency's main office in Lincoln for review within 90 days of the completion the medical evaluation. 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A1 (2013). Individuals also may be required to report to a licensing agency office to take other tests (such as vision or written tests). Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118(3) (2012). Periodic follow-up medical evaluations may be required on the recommendation of the physician, or at the request of the licensing agency. 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A1 (2013); Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Statement of Physician" Form DMV06-19 TSIE5 07/12 (Rev. 07/2012).

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?

No physician or member of the Health Advisory Board conducting a medical examination of an applicant or licensee will be held liable in tort or otherwise for any opinion, recommendation, or report presented to the Board or licensing agency if such action was taken in good faith and without malice. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118.03 (2012).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Decisions generally are made by licensing agency personnel, based on state medical standards and on physician recommendations. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-499(1)-(10) (2012) (specifying circumstances in which the licensing agency may revoke an individual's driver's license). If a physician indicates that an individual is not capable of safely operating a motor vehicle, the individual's license will be suspended or denied. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-1,118.03 (2012) (providing that the licensing agency will give "due consideration" to medical reports submitted by physicians). In certain situations, cases may be referred to the state's independent Health Advisory Board for recommendations. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-1,118.03 (2012). An individual may be required to appear before the Board when his or her case is heard. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-1,118.03 (2012). Nevertheless, the purpose of the Health Advisory Board is limited to providing advice to the licensing agency on the health qualifications of individuals applying for driver's licenses or permits, and the Board does not have final decision-making authority over licensing determinations and does not have authority to promulgate any public policy concerning the issuance of licenses or permits. 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-004.01 (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 responds affirmatively to medical questions on the license application. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,118(3), -4,118.01(3) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A (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. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118(3) (2012). Generally, an individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she discloses to the licensing agency that he or she has a physical impairment that may affect his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,118(3) (2012).

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

No. Nebraska has adopted no specific medical guidelines related to diabetes, except for its guidelines related to episodes of loss of consciousness. However, it is statutorily specified that the driver's license application asks an applicant whether he or she has experienced loss or consciousness or similar conditions because of diabetes. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-484(1)(c)(A), (2)(c)(A) (2012). In addition, physicians must answer detailed questions about diabetes on the medical evaluation form. Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Statement of Physician" Form DMV06-19 TSIE5 07/12 (Rev. 07/2012).

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

The license application asks an individual whether he or she has experienced an episode of loss of consciousness, fainting or dizziness, or seizures within the preceding three months and whether he or she has any condition that would affect his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-484(1)(c)(A)-(B), (2)(c)(A)-(B) (2012). If an applicant indicates that he or she has a physical condition that could affect his or her ability to drive safely, then he or she must demonstrate through a medical evaluation that she has the ability to do so. See Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,118(3), -4,118.01(3) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01A (2013). There is no specified episode-free period, and licensing decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

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 statutory authority providing for exceptions to Nebraska's policy regarding driver licensing and episodes of loss of consciousness.

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

An individual whose license has been denied, suspended, or revoked for medical reasons has a right of immediate appeal to the licensing agency for review of its decision. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,114(4) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-005.01 (2013). Normally, the licensing agency must review its decision and issue a final determination within 10 days of receiving the appeal. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,114(4) (2012). However, if the licensing agency wishes to consult the Health Advisory Board with regard to a case, it will have 45 days from receipt of the appeal to do so; and when the Board issues a medical opinion, the licensing agency must issue a final determination within 10 days. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,114(4) (2012). The licensing agency's final determination must be in writing, accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law, and mailed to the aggrieved individual. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,114(4) (2012).

Additionally, judicial review of the licensing agency's decision is possible. See Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,105, -4,114(4) (2012); 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-005.02 (2013). An individual may appeal to the district court of the county in which he or she originally applied for the license or the district court of the county in which he or she resides or, in the case of a nonresident, to the district court of Lancaster County within 30 days after the date of the licensing agency's final decision. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,105(1) (2012). The district court will hear the appeal in equity and without a jury and will review all questions de novo. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,105(3) (2012). Either party may appeal the decision of the district court to the Court of Appeals. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-4,105(3) (2012).

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

No. However, after considering the results of all phases of the licensing examination, which may have included a medical evaluation, the licensing agency may issue a limited license restricted to such driving conditions or special control apparatus as it may determine is reasonable to insure that the applicant will be able to safely operate a motor vehicle. 247 Neb. Admin. Code § 7-003.01D (2013).

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and payment of a fee. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,180 to -4,181 (2012) (describing requirements for receiving identification card). An applicant for an identification card must file an application, present two forms of ID, and pay a fee ranging from $5.00 to $24.00, depending on the number of years for which the identification card will be valid. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-4,115(2), -4,181(1) (2012).

Resources

Driver licensing in Nebraska is administered by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.