Driver License Division - Medical Standards Introduction
The following Guidelines and Standards were developed for use by Utah Health Care Professionals to assist them in completing the Functional Ability Evaluation and Certificate of Visual Examination forms for the Utah Driver License Division.
The Guidelines and Standards were written by the Utah Medical Advisory Board. The members on this board are physicians with varying medical specialties and operate under bylaws approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety.
Utah Driver License Medical Advisory Board
Executive Committee Members:
Howard M Leaman, M.D.,
Chair, Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine, Occupational Medicine
Robert Miska, M.D., Neurologist
Robert M. Christiansen, M.D., Ophthalmologist
Expert Panel Members:
Cherie P Brunker, M.D., Geriatrics
Heather Welch, M.D., Occupational Therapist Registered/Licensed
Utah residents are individually responsible for their health when driving. All applicants for licenses will complete a health questionnaire to show their functional ability to drive. If there is a significant health problem, they will take their medical and/or vision form to a health care professional, who will profile the category for the condition indicated or change it to be consistent with the true medical situation. The health care professional will be expected to discuss the applicant’s health as it relates to driving and to make special recommendations in unusual circumstances. Based upon a completed Functional Ability Evaluation form/Certificate of Vision, the Driver License Division may issue a license with or without limitations as outlined in these Guidelines and Standards approved by the Utah Driver License Medical Advisory Board. Health care professionals can increase highway safety by carefully applying these guidelines and standards and counseling with their patients about driving.
Drivers are responsible to refrain from driving if "they have, or develop, or suspect that they have developed a physical, mental, or emotional impairment which may affect driving safety."
Drivers in such a situation are expected to seek competent medical evaluation and advice about the significance of the impairment as it relates to driving safety. Drivers are responsible for reporting to the Driver License Division if “they have or develop, or suspect a physical, mental, or emotional impairment which may affect driving safety.”
Health care professionals may be requested by their patients to make reports to the Driver License Division about impairments which may affect driving safety, but the final responsibility for issuing a driver license lies with the Driver License Division. In addition to making accurate reports when authorized by their patients, health care professionals are expected to counsel their patients about how their condition affects safe driving. For example, if patients are put on medications which may cause changes in alertness or coordination, their health care professional should advise them not to drive at least until a dosage is established which will not affect safe driving. Or, if visual acuity drops, they should similarly be advised, at least until corrective action has been taken to improve their vision. The following quotation from the 1996 law recognizes this important function:
"Health care professionals who care for patients with physical, mental, or emotional impairments that may affect their driving safety, whether defined by published guidelines and standards or not, are responsible for making available to their patients without reservation their recommendations and appropriate information related to driving safety and responsibilities." The guidelines and standards which follow will be a useful reference in such counseling.
To simplify reporting and to make possible a comparison of relative risks and limitations, the Medical Advisory Board has adopted physical, emotional and behavioral functional ability profiles including 12 categories, with multiple levels under each category. Click here for a list of the categories.
Operators of commercial intrastate vehicles fall under different licensing requirements. As far as possible, these have been incorporated into appropriate profiles. In 1997 the division began the Utah Intrastate Program for commercial drivers.
Setting limitations on driving for persons with impairments of functional ability works to increase public safety and at the same time to permit individuals a maximum degree of freedom of movement in two ways. First, in cases of decreased vision or motor control, avoiding high speeds will reduce the number, as well as the seriousness, of accidents. Second, in situations of some increase in the chance of an accident, cutting down on the extent of exposure on the highway by limiting driving areas or times of day will reduce the total number of accidents and yet allow a person perhaps enough mobility to maintain a job with a single round trip each work day. These factors are difficult to define and measure but an effort has been made to accumulate and develop accurate data in order to refine limitations in the interest of safety.
In some cases, functional ability profiles indicating driving impairment in more than one category may be the basis for a more limited license than if there is only one impairment, but generally any limitation will relate to the single profile showing most impairment. As these functional ability profiles are used in determining driver licenses, data will be gathered as to the driving safety record of various groups as a basis for revision of the levels. Data secured from other sources will also be used. Denial of driving privileges based upon medical reasons does not constitute a “disability” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
All commercial intrastate drivers must be profiled in the appropriate categorie(s) in order to be considered for an intrastate license and are not required to carry a Federal DOT card. The intrastate only (K) restriction is sufficient to indicate the driver has met the State of Utah medical guidelines for the commercial license.
[Last Update - Friday, 08-Mar-2013 16:25:33 MST]