Do State's DMV's discriminate against diabetics?

msViolet
By msViolet Latest Reply 2013-07-09 07:02:31 -0500
Started 2013-06-25 10:48:36 -0500

In most states I'm hoping that discrimination against and medical invasion into diabetics history is not practiced. In Minnesota no other medical history required on those with heart disease, history of psychological issues, or any other medical issues or concerns are asked about them as they are with diabetics by our states D.M.V. The instant you disclose on your dirvers liscence renewal form that you are diabetic the state immediately goes for your medical history regarding your type of diabtes, your medication regimen, and asks the doctor their opinion in that are you qualified to continue safely drive. How many other states also practice this form of discrimination?


15 replies

Armourer
Armourer 2013-07-01 19:38:53 -0500 Report

I've been filling out the DMV form letter every six months for the last twenty years. Yes it is a pain but I totally understand. Twenty years ago I suffered a brain-stem stroke at age 39. I haven't had any problems when driving but I'm a risk. A friend of mine died when her blood sugar went to low and she died in a car crash. Luckily no one else was hurt. Driving is a privilege not a right.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-26 14:12:42 -0500 Report

Violet in Maryland you can self report which may require a letter from your physician.

Approval by the MVA's Driver Wellness & Safety Division and/or the Medical Advisory Board is required if a person has any of the conditions listed below which may affect their ability to drive. If someone has one of these medical conditions, they must notify MVA when the condition is diagnosed or when applying for or renewing a driver's license.
Cerebral Palsy;
Diabetes requiring insulin;
Epilepsy;
Multiple sclerosis;
Muscular dystrophy;
Irregular heart rhythm or heart condition;
Stroke, "mini-stroke", or transient ischemic attack (TIA);
Alcohol dependence or abuse;
Drug or substance dependence or abuse;
Loss of limb or limbs;
Traumatic brain injury;
Bipolar disorder;
Schizophrenic disorders;
Panic attack disorder
Impaired or loss of consciousness, fainting, blackout, or seizure;
Disorder which prevents a corrected minimum visual acuity of 20/70 in at least one eye and a field of vision of at least 110 degrees;
Parkinson's disease;
Dementia, for example, Alzheimer's disease or multi-infarct dementia;
Sleep disorders, for example, narcolepsy or sleep apnea; or
Autism.

However, in Maryland, if you are a driver with these problems, neighbors, friends and family members can send a letter to the Medical Advisory Board at the MVA to turn you in.

In this state, they do not contact your doctor and your doctor is not going to disclose information without your written permission. In fact only a diabetic on INSULIN has to notify the MVA they are diabetic in this state. Have you contacted your Motor Vehicle Administration to find out what information they require?

Since driver license information can vary by state with the exception of CDL's what you are saying is incorrect in many states. EACH person should check with their state regarding drivers licenses because much of what you are saying isn't true for all states.

msViolet
msViolet 2013-06-26 08:31:55 -0500 Report

But do they come back in 6 months, then every year for 4 years and then every 4 years after demanding your A1C results? This particular information should not, in my opinion be necessary once a physician gives his/her approval to the fact that you are able to operate a motor vehicle properly. How many accidents and deaths have been caused by those who have out of control diabetes? Now compare that number with those on their cell phones, or texting? And lets count those who are driving vans or buses loaded with people. The same with those, who have other medical issues. Keeping the public safe should not mean that private medical information (A1C) blood glucose levels need to be made public, especially when one is not aware of just who is seeing this inforamtion when sent to state DMV offices.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-27 12:36:58 -0500 Report

Your doctor is not going to give your information to them without you permission. There is a form you have to completed by your doctor. I have pulled people out of wrecked cars because of heart attacks, diabetic episodes and other medical reasons. If you have to give up your medical information to keep me from being scraped off a sidewalk because your diabetic episode then I am all for you giving it up. Why is your privacy more important than the safety of a family that you hit because you passed out behind the wheel from hyper or hypoglycemia. In my opinion peoples lives are far more important than keeping your A1C information private. Just remember your neighbors, the police and your family can turn you in if they know you are an out of control diabetic or on an insulin pump and your medical privacy will no longer be private.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-27 12:36:54 -0500 Report

Your doctor is not going to give your information to them without you permission. There is a form you have to completed by your doctor. I have pulled people out of wrecked cars because of heart attacks, diabetic episodes and other medical reasons. If you have to give up your medical information to keep me from being scraped off a sidewalk because your diabetic episode then I am all for you giving it up. Why is your privacy more important than the safety of a family that you hit because you passed out behind the wheel from hyper or hypoglycemia. In my opinion peoples lives are far more important than keeping your A1C information private. Just remember your neighbors, the police and your family can turn you in if they know you are an out of control diabetic or on an insulin pump and your medical privacy will no longer be private.

Nick1962
Nick1962 2013-06-26 12:17:16 -0500 Report

Here’s how it works where I am. My state has a Medical Examination Program that treats each case individually (and this is from the book) “…..to protect highway safety without causing unnecessary hardship on the driver.”

I was placed in this program, and did so voluntarily. A1c was never part of it, nor was this “examination” or the subsequent records public – I’m not sure what difference it would make if it were.

At the time I was on medication and not under control, but had not been treated for any hypo episodes, so there was no restriction placed on my license. I did however have to have it renewed sooner than others to be re-evaluated. Normally we are issue a license for 8 years for those between 18-53 years old. I had to renew mine after five which is the above 54 year-old requirement. As of last year I have been removed from the program because I am well controlled, not on meds, and not being treated for diabetes by a doctor. My next renewal will be for the full 8 years again (unless I develop some other form of medical issue).

We can make all kinds of supporting comparisons. A cell phone certainly is a distraction, but you can hang up, put it down immediately (or even not pick it up in the first place), and resume attentive driving. You cannot ignore or recover from a hypoglycemic episode immediately.

Diabetes for many is a progressive disease just like glaucoma or heart issues. We get restrictions put on our licenses for good cause no matter what the medical condition.

hairbear68
hairbear68 2013-06-26 09:31:58 -0500 Report

I haven't had any lic sents my feet started too hurt but when I blacked out I started worrying what if I driving a taxi for an example and I blackout hit someone or something ssi wants me too get a sitting job i'm a cashier for 7-11 who worked a little surcurity before I was a cashier not train too be a secatery or working on a paid by getting people too sign or buy something I know I don't like those calls so the money doen't sound like it wood come in right too see doctors get meds and with my burr eyesight I might be making more mistakes when writing so I don't eye doing this at the minute ether

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-25 21:15:17 -0500 Report

It isn't discrimination. It is wanting to keep not only the person with the medical problem but others on the road safe. I have not had to have my license renewed since I was diagnosed after I renewed my license. Since I don't drive and want to keep my license, I have not decided if I plan to disclose this information. It is no different than the eye exam. I had a friend who could not get a license because of her vision. She needed to bring a report from her doctor to get hers. I have a friend and a neighbor with pacemakers who were able to get their licenses renewed.

I have not seen any questions regarding psychological issues on drivers license renewal here in Maryland. The way I see it is if you or anyone else has a medical problem that could interfere with safely operating a vehicle. I am all for the MVA checking into their history including mine. It is bad enough we have to deal with people distracted while driving but those with medical problems that could create a problem while driving makes that driver a possible hazard on the road.

Nick1962
Nick1962 2013-06-25 12:23:44 -0500 Report

Hey msViolet. Welcome to the group!

My state does, as well as Texas (specifically “insulin dependent” in Texas). Canada as well I believe.
In some states you are asked if you ever experienced or suffer from seizures or blackouts – it does not ask whether it is diabetic or otherwise. A hypoglycemic episode falls into those catagories. You can check the specifics by state here: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/...
This is for non-commercial driver’s licenses (non-CDL), but I doubt there is any state that doesn’t ask about medical conditions for commercial and bus/taxi licenses. I’ve lived in 4 states and each one required medical background (including diabetes) and a physical for a CDL. Some states (like Texas) may not give you a bus license with insulin dependent diabetes.

Personally (and I know others will feel differently), I don’t find it discriminatory if I haven’t been denied the license.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-25 21:15:01 -0500 Report

I agree with you Nick. I personally would not want to be on a bus with a driver whose health could cause an accident. I don't find it to be discriminatory at all.

Nick1962
Nick1962 2013-06-26 10:55:47 -0500 Report

This subject comes up on every diabetic blog and social/support site pretty regularly, with some heated debate. My own opinions aside, what I find frustrating is the criteria and terminology between the states varies so much that you could be prosecuted for an accident in one state but not the next.

At least with the FAA it’s clear and across the board – you can’t get a pilot’s license if you are on hyper/hypoglycemic medications (and they even list the medications). Over-the-road and interstate CDL/truck driver’s licenses are pretty consistent on medical also.

What troubles me is that many people outright lie about the condition when applying, and a lot admitted having hypo symptoms or even accidents while driving.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-06-26 14:16:57 -0500 Report

Nick I don't think she really checked into this before she posted this information. You need a medical review in my state if you are on insulin. None of my type 2 non insulin dependent friends have had a problem getting their license renewed even with disclosing the information. One person who is insulin dependent had to have a letter submitted and still got a license renewed.

Nick1962
Nick1962 2013-06-26 15:00:16 -0500 Report

I would agree. In my home state, the question is “…..during the last year, had a loss of consciousness or muscle control” caused by any of a list of conditions, one of which is diabetes.
If you answer no - diabetic or not, you're sailing free. But, like your state you can also be reported by an examiner, police, doctor, friends or neighbors. I've often wanted to report my boss - the man drives crazy to begin with - I've worked too hard to become a pavement stain at his hands.