Nevada

Nevada

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

Not specifically. However, the driver's license application (first-time and renewal) asks whether an applicant has any disabilities, illnesses, or missing extremities or takes any medication that could affect his or her driving ability. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(2) (2012); Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Driver's License or Identification Card Application," Form DMV-002 (Rev. 10/2012). If an applicant answers yes to this question, he or she must describe the disabilities, illnesses, or medications and may be required to have a physician complete a physician's report. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(3) (2012). If a physician's report is required, it must be submitted to the licensing agency within 30 days of the examination. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(1), (4) (2012). Individuals with diabetes may choose to indicate their medical status on their driver's licenses, Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.348(1)-(2) (2012), and the application instructs those wishing to do so to complete a Confidential Physician's Report (Form DLD-7). Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Driver's License or Identification Card Application," Form DMV-002 (Rev. 10/2012).

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?

Drivers must self-report diabetes if they have experienced a lapse of consciousness due to diabetes within the last 3 years. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.330 (2012). The state also accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from police officers, the courts, other state agencies, physicians, close family members, and other citizens. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 483.363, .367 (2013) (family members may report); Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Request for Re-Examination," Form DLD-23 (Rev. 7/2006) (form for law enforcement and state officials). Requests from family members must be accompanied by an affidavit from a physician. The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports, nor does it investigate any of the referral sources before it contacts a driver for possible evaluation. Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Request for Re-Examination," Form DLD-23A (Rev. 9/2005). 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.

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 gave positive answers to medical questions on the license application or because of a report from one of the other sources listed above, it may require the individual to have a medical evaluation. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(1), (3) (2012). When this happens, an evaluation form is sent to the individual, which must be completed by his or her physician. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(1), (3) (2012). The evaluation form asks about the nature of the individual's condition, whether it can affect safe driving, medications that the individual is taking and whether they can affect safe driving, the date of the last episode of loss of consciousness or dizzy spells, and whether the individual's condition is improving, worsening, or stable. The physician is also asked to indicate whether the individual can safely operate a motor vehicle under the physician's current plan of treatment and what kinds of licensing restrictions are recommended. Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles, "Confidential Physician's Report," Form DLD-7 (Rev. 9/2012). Medical evaluation forms are returned to the licensing agency for review and a licensing decision. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(4) (2012). If the physician's opinion on the individual's ability to drive safely is unfavorable, the license will generally be suspended or cancelled.

Are physicians required by law to report drivers who have medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely?

Physicians are required to report, in writing, the name, age, and address of individuals diagnosed with epilepsy to the Health Division, which then will transmit, in writing, the information to the licensing agency. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 439.270(2)-(3) (2013). Such reports are kept confidential and used solely to determine the eligibility of an individual to operate a vehicle on the streets and highways of the state. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 439.270(4) (2013); Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(5) (2012).

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 a physician reporting a patient's medical condition.

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Decisions are made by licensing agency personnel. Nevada's medical review program is administered by non-medical administrative staff that generally follow the recommendations of an individual's physician. Nevada also has an independent, three-member Medical Advisory Board that is authorized to provide advisory opinions to the licensing agency regarding specific licensing determinations. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.205 (2013); Nev. Admin. Code § 483.380(1) (2012). Ultimate authority over all licensing determinations, however, resides with the licensing agency. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 483.205, .420 (2013); Nev. Admin. Code § 483.380(1) (2012).

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 the licensing agency has good cause to believe that he or she is afflicted with or suffering from any physical or mental disability or disease which may prevent him or her from operating a motor vehicle safely or which makes such operation hazardous to public safety. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.310(1), (3) (2012). When applying for or renewing their driver's licenses, individuals afflicted with a variety of conditions that have caused a lapse in consciousness, including epilepsy and diabetes, must submit to the licensing agency medical evaluations as a condition of licensure. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.330 (2012). An individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if his or her license has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled for medical reasons. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.400(1)(b) (2012).

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

Drivers must self-report diabetes if they have experienced a lapse of consciousness within the last 3 years. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.330 (2012). The person with diabetes affecting consciousness must submit to the medical evaluation process. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.330 (2012).

Also, upon submitting a signed statement from a physician, an individual with insulin-dependent diabetes may voluntarily obtain a specially colored license indicating his or her diabetic status. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.348(1)-(2) (2013). The Department of Public Safety must provide for the education of police officers on (1) the effects and treatment of a person suffering from diabetes and the similarity in appearance of a person suffering from diabetes to a person under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and (2) the procedures for identifying and handling situations involving a person suffering from diabetes. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.348(3)(a)-(b) (2013).

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

If an individual suffers from any condition that causes loss of consciousness, severe dizziness, fainting, or seizures and if there is documented evidence through medical examinations or reports in addition to appropriate agency evaluations and examinations, all of which indicate that the condition would severely impair the individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, the licensing agency will not issue or renew a driver's license. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.370(1) (2012). However, the existence of such a condition does not automatically preclude an individual from obtaining a driver's license if his or her condition is not severe enough to impair driving ability. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.370(1) (2012). An individual suffering from lapses of consciousness, severe dizziness, fainting, or seizures will not be licensed until he or she submits to the licensing agency a medical statement signed by his or her physician indicating (1) (a) that the individual has been free of seizures or has not suffered any fainting or dizzy spells or other such disorders for a period of three months or (b) that the seizure or other ailment resulting in the lapse of consciousness was an isolated incident and is unlikely to reoccur; (2) whether any medication prescribed for the individual will interfere with his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely; and (3) the date of the most recent seizure or lapse of consciousness. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.370(1)(a)-(b) (2012).

If an individual has experienced a lapse of consciousness within the preceding three years as the result of a condition that could cause lapses of consciousness, he or she must submit a written medical report describing the ailment and its effect on his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely when applying for or renewing a driver's license. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.330(1) (2012). An individual that has experienced a lapse of consciousness within the preceding three years is required to submit an annual medical evaluation conducted by his or her physician. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.350(2) (2012). Once an individual has been seizure-free for greater than three years, annual medical evaluations are no longer required. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.350(2) (2012).

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. Even if an individual has experienced an episode of loss of consciousness within the preceding three months, he or she may be licensed if his or her physician submits to the licensing agency a signed medical statement indicating (1) that the seizure or other ailment resulting in the lapse of consciousness was an isolated incident and is unlikely to reoccur; (2) whether any medication prescribed for the individual will interfere with his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely; and (3) the date of the most recent seizure or lapse of consciousness. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.370(1)(a)-(b) (2012).

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

If an applicant has been denied a license, he or she will be notified via certified mail and may appeal to the licensing agency hearing officer within 30 days of receipt of the notification. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.250 (2012). If an individual's license has been restricted, suspended, or revoked—or if an individual's application has been denied—he or she may request a hearing with the licensing agency hearing officer within 30 days of notification of the licensing decision. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.390(1) (2012). If an individual fails to request a hearing within the specified 30-day period, the licensing agency nevertheless may grant a hearing within its discretion. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.390(1) (2012). Upon appealing a licensing decision, an individual must provide to the licensing agency "all available information which the hearing officer deems necessary to determine the fitness of the applicant or licensee to operate a motor vehicle safely," which may include his or her case history and medical statements. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.390(2) (2012). Judicial review of licensing decisions also is available. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.520 (2013).

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

Yes. An individual that has experienced seizures or altered consciousness within the preceding three years may be issued a restricted license and required to submit an annual medical evaluation conducted by his or her physician. Nev. Admin. Code § 483.350(2) (2012); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 483.360(1) (2013) (authorizing the licensing agency, whenever good cause appears, to impose licensing restrictions "appropriate to assure the safe driving of a motor vehicle by the licensee").

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and payment of a fee. Any individual 10 years of age or older may obtain an identification card. A person may not hold both an identification card and a driver's license concurrently. If an individual surrenders his or her driver's license due to medical reasons, the fee is waived. Nev. Admin. Code §§ 483.320(4), .490(2) (2012).

Resources

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