State Driving Laws Database

Driver Information By State

Every state regulates driver's license eligibility of persons with certain medical conditions. The most common requirement for people with epilepsy is that they be seizure free for a specific period of time and submit a physician's evaluation of their ability to drive safely. Another common requirement is the periodic submission of medical reports, in some states for a specified period of time and in others for as long as the person remains licensed.

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DMV Appeal of License DenialYes
Doctors to Report EpilepsyNo
Periodic Medical Updates Required After Licensing At discretion of Medical Advisory Board
Seizure-Free Period6 months with exceptions

Washington Driver Licensing Laws

To be eligible for licensing, an individual must be seizure-free or free from losses of consciousness for 6 months, be under a physician’s care and on medication. However, if the person's physician wishes to waive the six-month period, the application must be documented and submitted to the department, and the information will then be taken under advisement. The department may request that an applicant submit to an examination. [WA. STAT. ANN. §46.20.041, §46.20.130, §46.20.305].

A person whose driving privilege is canceled or restricted for medical reasons may appeal that action to the Department of Licensing, which will inform the driver of an opportunity for a driver improvement interview and hearing. [§46.20.041, §46.20.305, §46.20.322]. Written notice of the appeal must be given. If the person is dissatisfied with the decision resulting from the driver improvement interview, the individual has 10 days from the date of notice to make a written request for a formal hearing. [§46.20.328]. Upon request, the department must schedule a formal hearing before a departmental hearing officer as soon as possible. [§46.20.329]. If the individual is dissatisfied with the outcome of the hearing, he or she may appeal within 30 days to the superior court in the county of his or her residence. [§46.20.334]. Physicians are not granted statutory immunity from liability for the information they provide the DMV or from liability for damages arising out of an accident caused by a seizure.

Commercial Driving

Washington has adopted the federal DOT's medical standards for intrastate commercial driver's licensing, however an individual with epilepsy may petition for a waiver. Waivers may be granted to individuals who show they have been seizure-free for 6 months and are under adequate medical treatment and supervision. They must submit annual medical reports. [§46.25.055].

Washington Identification Card

One may obtain an identification card at any Driver Licensing office. The individual must provide positive identification.

Washington Reporting

Physicians are not required to report patients who have been treated for or diagnosed as having epilepsy to a central state agency. However, doctors may voluntarily report patients. The highest court in the state of Washington has held that doctors are immune from liability for making such reports. See, Tumelson v. Todhunter et al., 105 Wn.2d 596 (Wash. 1986).

© 2014 Epilepsy Foundation. All rights reserved. This summary was developed for informational purposes by the Epilepsy Foundation and reflects a review of data available as of August 2014. Information is subject to change. This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. For further information, please consult your state Department of Motor Vehicles.

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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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