Utah

Utah

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

Yes. The driver's license application (first time and renewal) presents a list of conditions (one of which is diabetes) and asks the applicant whether he or she has any of these conditions. Utah Driver's License Division, "Driver License/ID Card Application," Form DLD6A (Rev. 06/2012). Applicants who answer "Yes" to this question must have a medical evaluation form filled out by their physician. Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-4(1) (2013) (applicants are required to answer personal health questions related to safety, and must submit medical report for significant health problems).

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, the courts, physicians, family members, friends, other citizens and hospitals. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(14)(c) (2013) (health care professionals and other people aware of impairments presenting an imminent threat to driving safety may report to licensing agency.) Drivers who develop or suspect they have development an impairment that may affect safe driving must self-report to the licensing agency. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(14)(a)(ii) (2013). The licensing agency does not accept anonymous reports, and does not investigate reports before the driver is required to go through the medical evaluation process. Drivers may also be required to have a medical evaluation if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process, when they contribute to an accident that results in a fatality, or after accumulating a given number of crashes within a certain time period.

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

When the licensing agency learns that a driver has diabetes, it will require the individual to have a medical evaluation. When this happens, an evaluation form is sent to the individual, which must be completed by his or her physician. Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-4(1) (2013) (requiring applicant to make a medical report if experiencing significant health problems). On the medical evaluation form, the physician must provide a rating of the individual's functional ability to drive as it is impacted by diabetes (and other medical conditions). Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-4(1) (2013). For diabetes and other metabolic conditions, the physician must choose between eight levels of functional ability, ranging from no history of diabetes to severe unstable insulin-dependent diabetes. The evaluation must have taken place within the last 6 months. The doctor may suggest additional evaluations by other specialists, may recommend a driving skills test, and may make any additional comments. Utah Driver License Division, "Functional Ability Evaluation Medical Report," Form DLD 134 (Rev. 02/2013). Medical evaluation forms are returned to the licensing agency for review and a licensing decision. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-304(1)(a)(i) (2013). Regular follow-up medical reviews may be required. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-304(1)(a)(ii) (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 a central state agency. However, "health care professionals shall…make reports to the division respecting impairments which may affect driving safety when requested by their patients." Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-6(1)(a) (2013). Furthermore, physicians are required to counsel their patients regarding their health and the ways in which any physical or mental conditions might affect their ability to drive safely. See Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(14)(b) (2013); Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-4(2), -6(1)(b) (2013).

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

Yes, provided that they have reported the individuals to the licensing agency in good faith. "A health care professional or other person who becomes aware of a physical, mental, or emotional impairment that appears to present an imminent threat to driving safety and reports this information to the division in good faith has immunity from any damages claimed as a result of making the report." Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(14)(c) (2013).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Medical evaluation forms generally are reviewed by non-medical licensing agency personnel, who make licensing decisions based primarily on information provided by the individuals' physician and the physicians' recommendations regarding the individuals' functional abilities. See Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-304(3)(a)-(b) (2013). Depending on a physician's recommendation, a case may be referred to the state's independent Medical Advisory Board for a recommendation. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(9)(b) (2013) (panel of advisory board may convene if reason to believe driver is an impaired person). Nevertheless, the licensing agency retains ultimate authority over all licensing decisions. Utah Admin. Code r. R708-7-6(1)(a) (2013).

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

Yes. The state Medical Advisory Board has issued guidelines for physicians evaluating patients with diabetes and other conditions. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303(8) (2013). These guidelines emphasize the importance of determining whether the individual experiences hypoglycemic unawareness, and suggest that physicians should be particularly concerned with individuals who have had past episodes of unconsciousness caused by severe hypoglycemia or who have had diabetes for a long time. Utah Driver License Division, "Category A: Diabetes Mellitus," with a simplified Chart, (Accessed Aug. 2013). These guidelines require that diabetes be controlled with insulin, oral medication, diet or exercise to permit driving. All applicants with diabetes must submit a medical evaluation and regular follow-up evaluations. The frequency of follow-up evaluations is based on the stability and severity of the condition. Individuals who control their diabetes without insulin, or who use insulin but have had no episodes of ketosis or altered consciousness for one year, must have follow-up medical evaluations every year. Individuals who use insulin and have had episodes of loss of consciousness more than three months ago but less than one year ago must have a follow-up evaluation in six months, and may only drive with their physician's recommendation. The intervals at which follow up medical evaluations are required may be altered on the recommendation of the individual's treating physician. Individuals who have severe unstable insulin-dependent diabetes or who have persisting ketosis may not drive.

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

No specific episode-free time period is required by the state, but the instructions given to doctors filling out medical evaluation forms suggest that individuals who have had an episode within the last three months should not be licensed unless special circumstances are present. Utah Driver License Division, "Category A: Diabetes Mellitus," with a simplified Chart, (Accessed Aug. 2013).

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

Any person who is uncertain of the interpretation of these guidelines or standards, or in special circumstances, may request a review of any licensing agency decision by a panel of board members. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-303.5(3) (2013). The individual may within ten days of receiving notice of the action request in writing a review of the division's action by a panel of the medical advisory board. The panel will review medical reports and the driving record, and provide written findings and conclusions to the licensing agency.

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

Yes. The licensing agency may grant a restricted license to an impaired person who is otherwise qualified to drive. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-304(2) (2013).

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification and payment of a fee. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-804(2) (2013) (specifying acceptable identifying documents). An identification card is valid for a five-year period. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-807(1)(a) (2013). Identification cards issued to individuals age 65 and older are valid indefinitely. Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-807(7) (2013). An individual with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act may extend his or her identification card for an additional five-year period if he or she completes an application and pays a $13.00 fee. Utah Code Ann. §§ 53-3-105(27)(b), -807(5)(a)-(d), -808(1) (2013). Payment of an $18.00 fee is required to obtain an identification card. Utah Code Ann. §§ 53-3-105(27)(a), -808(1) (2013). Indigent individuals are not required to pay a fee to obtain an identification card. Utah Code Ann. §§ 53-3-103(27)(c), -808(2)(a)-(b) (2013). If an individual is required to surrender his or her license due to a medical condition, he or she may obtain an identification card at no charge in exchange for his or her license. For more information, including on medically disqualified drivers obtaining identification cards, see Utah Driver License Division, "ID Cards."

Resources

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