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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Wisconsin Driver Licensing Laws
A person with epilepsy may obtain a driver's license if the individual has been seizure-free for three months prior to the application date, adequately compensates for any paralysis or sensory deficit when driving, fatigue or weakness does not impair driving as assessed by a physician, and there is no decline in cognition to an extent that interferes with safe driving. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.10(3)(c) (2020). The Department may request a doctor's report describing the applicant's condition. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.10 (2020).
The Department may require follow-up examinations and reports by a physician including information related to episodes of altered consciousness as a condition for issuing a license. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.10(2) (2020); WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.16(5) (2020). The medical information submitted is reviewed by the Bureau of Driver's Licensing Medical Review Unit. The department may restrict a person’s operating privilege based on a physician’s recommendation, a driving evaluation, or failure to show medical certificate. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.16 (2020). The Department may require a person with a recurring condition to submit to follow-up medical evaluations. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.17 (2020).
When a person’s operating privileges have been suspended or revoked, the department shall afford them the opportunity to request a hearing unless the department is satisfied from the records and information that a hearing is not warranted. The licensee/applicant has ten days to request that the medical review board review the cancellation. WIS. STAT. ANN. §§ 343.33, 343.16 (2020). There is a right to judicial review of the Department’s actions regarding cancellation or denial of a license. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.40 (2020).
A person may voluntarily surrender their license if they believe they are unable to exercise reasonable control over a vehicle and the operating privileges are not subject to suspension or revocation for any reason. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.265 (2020). The fee for reinstatement of a operating privilege is $10, the fee for a previously revoked or suspended driving privilege is $50. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.21(1)(j) (2020). All reports, records or information furnished by or on behalf of an applicant or licensee are confidential and for use solely in administering this section and are not admissible as evidence for any other purpose in any civil or criminal action. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.16(5)(C) (2020).
Wisconsin has not adopted the federal DOT's medical standards for commercial drivers' licenses. In order to receive a school bus and passenger endorsements, an individual must show either that: (1) any neurological condition is controlled; (2) the person’s driving is not impaired by weakness, numbness, or muscle spasm, or the person adequately compensates for any paralysis while driving; (3) the person is knowledgeable about the condition; and (4) there are no episodes of altered consciousness or loss of bodily control unless one of the following apply: (a) there has been only a single, nonrecurring episode of altered consciousness or loss of bodily control occurring at least two years preceding the application, and that the cause of the episode has been identified and requires no treatment, or (b) that a seizure disorder has been diagnosed, but the person has been episode-free for at least five years preceding the application for a license, or (c) Narcolepsy has been diagnosed as the cause and no episodes of loss of consciousness in the past two years.
For a general commercial driver license, the applicant must not have had an episode of altered consciousness unless: (1) there has been a single, nonrecurring episode of altered consciousness at least two years preceding the application or (2) a seizure disorder has been diagnosed abut the person has been episode free for five years. WIS. ADMIN. CODE TRANS. § 112.10(3)(b) (2020).
Wisconsin Identification Card
A non-driver of any age may obtain an identification card from the Department of Transportation by filing an application and paying an $18.00 fee; however, there is no fee if the applicant’s driver’s license was revoked or voluntarily surrendered for medical reasons. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 343.50 (2020).
There is no law requiring physicians to report patients diagnosed with epilepsy. However, a physician who feels their patient's physical or mental condition affects their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle may report the patient's name and other information relevant to the condition to the Department of Transportation without the informed consent of the patient. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 146.82(3) (2020). Physicians are immune from liability for reporting, in good faith, patients whose driving ability they believe to be impaired due to their medical conditions, or not reporting patients whom they believe not to be so impaired. WIS. STAT. ANN. §§ 146.82(3), 448.03(5)(b) (2020).
© 2020 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 2020. 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.