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License Suspension Due to Physical or Mental Disqualification

By Spodek Law Group | February 14, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm


License Suspension Due to Physical or Mental Disqualification

Losing your driver’s license can be a scary thing. For some folks, driving is their livelihood – how they get to work or run errands. For others, it’s a rite of passage and a taste of freedom. Whatever driving means to you, having your license suspended hits hard.

There are many reasons licenses can be suspended or revoked. Getting too many tickets, failing to pay fines, or getting charged with a DUI are some common ones. But what happens when your license is taken away because of a health issue? Let’s take a closer look at license suspension due to physical or mental disqualification.

When Health Issues Affect Driving

Most states require drivers to meet certain medical requirements. The goal is to keep unfit drivers off the road for everyone’s safety. Conditions like epilepsy, dementia, sleep disorders, and vision or hearing loss can impact driving ability.

So if the DMV finds out you have one of these conditions, they may require you to prove you can drive safely before renewing your license. You may need to get a doctor’s note, take a road test, or pass a vision exam for example. If you can’t meet their requirements, your license may be suspended.

Suspension vs. Revocation

There are a couple ways the DMV can take away your license for medical reasons:

  • Suspension – Your license is taken away temporarily, like until you can prove you’re fit to drive again.
  • Revocation – This is permanent loss of your license until the DMV reinstates it.

Suspension is usually the first action taken. But if your condition is serious enough or you can’t get reapproved to drive, your license may ultimately get revoked.

When You’re Required to Report Health Conditions

So when do you have to tell the DMV about medical issues that could impact driving? It depends on the state, but generally:

  • Conditions that cause lapses of consciousness like epilepsy or narcolepsy
  • Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease
  • Psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, dementia, depression, PTSD, or manic behaviors
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury
  • Heart problems like angina, pacemaker implant, or heart attack
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Missing limbs
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Diabetes – if it’s led to vision issues, heart problems, or loss of feeling

The DMV may also require a doctor’s referral if they receive reports that your driving seems impaired. So family, doctors, or the police could trigger a medical review of your license.

The Medical Review Process

If the DMV is notified you have one of the above conditions, here’s generally what happens:

  1. They contact you to report the condition and require confirmation from your doctor.
  2. You’ll have to fill out a medical report form and have your doctor conduct an examination.
  3. The doctor sends their assessment to the DMV, addressing whether you can drive safely or not.
  4. If your doctor clears you, the DMV will likely require you to take and pass a road test.
  5. If you pass, you get your license back. If not, it will remain suspended until you can pass.
  6. If your doctor says you can’t drive safely, your license will be suspended or revoked.

This process aims to thoroughly evaluate if health conditions impair your driving ability. The goal is to keep the roads safe, not punish people.

Appealing Your Suspension

What if you disagree with the DMV suspending your license? You have the right to appeal and request a hearing. Some points to know:

  • You only have a certain timeframe to request an appeal, usually 10-30 days after notification.
  • The DMV will schedule a hearing to evaluate your case.
  • You can submit evidence like doctor reports and testimony to fight your case.
  • Appeal hearings are informal – no lawyer needed.
  • If the hearing doesn’t go your way, you may be able to appeal to court.

It’s a good idea to consult a traffic attorney for advice with appeals. They can help prepare your most compelling case.

Regaining Your License

If your license is suspended, taking steps to improve your health and prove you can drive safely is key. For certain conditions, your doctor may need to submit medical reports before the DMV reinstates your driving privileges. Or you may need to pass vision, knowledge, and road tests.

Showing the DMV you’ve got your condition well-managed and under control is important. For example, if you had a seizure disorder, showing you’ve gone 6 months to a year without a seizure on medication can help. Or if alcoholism was involved, completing treatment and showing sobriety.

Driving with a Suspended License

Never drive while your license is suspended – it’s illegal! You could face jail time, fines, extended suspension, or other penalties if caught. Plus, driving uninsured can get you in financial hot water if an accident occurs.

Instead, look into transportation options in your area like public transit, rides from family/friends, taxis, or services like Uber. You can also request a restricted license for things like work, school, or medical appointments.

The Impact on Your Insurance

Having your license suspended for medical reasons can make getting car insurance tricky down the road. Insurers may view you as high-risk and jack up your rates.

Some strategies that can help are:

  • Shopping around for quotes and comparing costs.
  • Taking defensive driving courses to offset risk.
  • Maintaining a clean driving history going forward.
  • Looking into state high-risk insurance pools if you can’t find affordable coverage.

And if you need to drive for work, look into commercial policies as they may offer better rates.

The Emotional Impact

Beyond the logistical headaches, losing your license can take a real emotional toll. For many, it represents a loss of freedom, independence, and identity.

Feelings like anger, depression, shame, and hopelessness are common. But don’t bottle it up – lean on loved ones, connect with others dealing with license loss, and talk to a counselor if needed. And focus on the steps you can take to eventually regain your driving privileges.

The Takeaway

Having your license suspended for medical reasons can be scary and frustrating. But it’s intended to keep everyone safe, not punish you. Be proactive with the DMV, get evidence you can drive safely again, and know your rights if you want to appeal. With patience and effort, your key to independence can be restored again.

At the end of the day, all that matters is getting healthy. So work closely with your doctor, take care of yourself, and driving will follow.


Here are some resources with more information on license suspension for medical issues:

How Health Conditions May Result in Loss of a Driver’s License

DUI & DWI Penalties & Punishments

Driving and Epilepsy

How Age-Related Medical Conditions Affect Driving

Dementia and Driving

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