New Hampshire

New Hampshire

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

No. The license application does not contain questions about medical conditions. N.H. Div. of Motor Vehicles, "Application for Driver's License," Form DSMV 450.

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 source, including police officers, accident reports, physicians, licensing officers, and private complaints. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(g)(1)-(6) (2013). The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports. Reports made by family, friends, and other citizens are investigated for legitimacy prior to contact being made with a driver. Drivers also may be required to have medical evaluations if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process or if they are involved in crashes that results in a fatality. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(f) (2013) (providing that an individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation upon receipt of information that he or she has a condition which might impair his or her driving ability); N.H. Div. of Motor Vehicles, "Request for Administrative Action," Form DSMV 384 (Rev. 05/2013) (police officer request for re-examination or suspension).

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 be reexamined. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(f) (2013). This reexamination may include a medical evaluation by the individual's physician, as well as other tests (such as vision and road tests). N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(f) (2013). An individual's license also may be suspended immediately if he or she has a condition (such as seizures or blackouts) that is so severe that it could cause immediate harm to the public. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(i), (k), (l) (2013). If an individual's physician recommends that his or her driving privileges be suspended, the licensing agency generally will follow this recommendation. Periodic follow-up medical evaluations generally are 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 or fail to report drivers with conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely to a central state agency. However, no civil or criminal liability shall lie against any member of the Medical/Vision Advisory Board who acts in good faith in advising the licensing agency with regard to licensing decisions. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:6-b(II) (2013). Good faith is presumed on the part of members of the Medical/Vision Advisory Board in the absence of a showing of fraud or malice. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:6-b(II) (2013).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Decisions are made by licensing agency personnel, who generally follow the recommendations of an individual's physician. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:56(I)(d) (2013) (generally authorizing the licensing agency to suspend or revoke the license of an individual who is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle by reason of physical, mental, or moral impairment); N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:59 (2013) (same). New Hampshire also has established a Medical/Vision Advisory Board, in part, to create and keep current criteria and science-based guidelines for use by licensing agency hearing examiners in making licensing determinations. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:6-b(III)(a) (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, generally, the licensing agency receives information that he or she has a condition which might impair his or her driving ability. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(f) (2013). An individual also may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she is attempting to have his or her license reinstated following a suspension or revocation for medical reasons. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 205.08(a)-(b) (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, if they are involved in crashes that results in a fatality, or if they are reported to the licensing agency as potentially unsafe drivers. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(f) (2013).

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

No. New Hampshire has adopted no specific policies about the licensing of drivers with diabetes other than its loss of consciousness policy.

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

An individual subject to episodes of loss of consciousness may obtain a license if he or she presents (1) a current statement of his or her case history; (2) a current medical evaluation by his or her treating physician covering diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, the relationship between the condition and the individual's driving ability, and evidence that the individual has been episode-free for at least 12 months; and (3) any other relevant medical information. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 205.08(a) (2013) (providing that, if an individual's license has been suspended or revoked due to a medical condition, such information must be submitted to the licensing agency prior to reinstatement). Note that the above guidelines apply in all cases in which an individual's license has been suspended or revoked due to a medical condition, not exclusively in cases involving episodes of loss of consciousness. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 205.08(a) (2013). An individual's license may not be suspended or revoked without the individual being afforded an opportunity for a hearing, except in cases in which he or she is so physically, mentally, or morally impaired that immediate harm to the public could occur if he or she retains his or her driver's license or operating privilege. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.02(i)-(k) (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?

Yes. An individual may have his or her license reinstated before the 12-month episode-free period has elapsed if he or she submits a medical evaluation stating (1) that there is no evidence of reoccurrence of the condition which led to the existing medical suspension and (2) that any treatment program, including medication, does not render him or her a hazard to public safety or incapable of safe operation of a vehicle. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 205.08(b) (2013).

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

If an individual's license has been suspended or revoked for reasons of physical or mental impairment, he or she may appeal to the licensing agency, which must grant an administrative hearing within 15 days of receiving a written request. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:59 (2013). An individual may request an administrative hearing at any time, as there is no statutory authority requiring such action within any specified timeframe. However, an individual is permitted to request only one administrative hearing per year for the purpose of reviewing the decision of the licensing agency to suspend or revoke his or her license, and upon request a hearing, an individual must produce medical evidence clearly indicating that his or her condition no longer renders him or her a hazard. N.H. Admin. Rules, Safe-C 204.13(g) (2013). An individual also has a right to a hearing if restrictions have been placed on his or her license for reasons of physical or mental impairment. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:13(IV) (2013).

Judicial review of licensing agency decisions also is available. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:76 (2013). Except when a suspension or revocation is mandatory, an individual may appeal to the superior court of the county in which he or she resides within 30 days of the licensing agency decision. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:76 (2013). Upon 14 days' notice to the licensing agency, the court will determine "whether the decision…is unreasonable or unlawful." N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:76 (2013). The decision of the licensing agency is presumed to be lawful and reasonable, and the aggrieved individual must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it was not. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:76 (2013).

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

Yes. The licensing agency may, for good cause, impose restrictions "appropriate to assure the safe driving of a motor vehicle by the licensee." N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:13(I) (2013).

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with completion of an application form and payment of a fee. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 263:64-b (2013); N.H. Div. of Motor Vehicles, "Application for Driver's License or Non-Driver ID Card," Form DSMV 450 (Rev. 04/2012).

Resources

Driver licensing in New Hampshire is administered by the Division of Motor Vehicles in the State Department of Safety. For more information, visit.