How Medical Conditions can Affect Your Right to Drive in Nevada
Certain medical conditions may prohibit or restrict your Nevada driving privilege. Such conditions include (without limitation):
- Recurring fainting or dizzy spells,
- Serious heart conditions such as myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency or thrombosis,
- Psychiatric disorders,
- Rheumatic, arthritic, orthopedic, muscular, neuromuscular or vascular disease,
- Hearing impairment,
- Vision impairment,
- Limited mobility, and/or
- Inability to reach the vehicle pedals without assistance.
The Nevada DMV can learn about these medical conditions in several ways:
- Legally required self-reporting;
- Legally required reporting by physicians, insurers or state agencies;
- An optional report filed by a spouse or close relative;
- You are pulled over by law enforcement and cited for a serious traffic violation or accident; or
- A Nevada court notifies the DMV following the result of a court proceeding.
Upon receiving notification of a medical problem, the Nevada DMV will do one of three things, depending on the seriousness of your condition:
- If your condition involves lapses of consciousness, the DMV will usually ask you to give up your license for 90 days voluntarily. At any time following that, you may present the DMV with a doctor’s certification that you are able to drive, and you will be re-issued your license, with or without restrictions.
- If your doctor or a family member has expressed doubts about your ability to drive, the DMV may ask to you come in for an examination. If you fail, you will usually be permitted to retake the tests. However, your license may thereafter be subject to restrictions, including that you be re-examined on a yearly basis.
- If your doctor has expressed the unequivocal view that you are unfit to drive, your license may be revoked or suspended right away. However, in such a case, you are still able to reinstate your license upon obtaining subsequent medical clearance.
The DMV will usually work with you to find a happy medium that allows you to drive, possibly with restrictions, if you are at all able. However, if all else fails, and feel you were unfairly deprived of your driving privilege, you have the right to appeal your license suspension or revocation at a Nevada driver’s license administrative hearing.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choosing at a Nevada DMV license reinstatement hearing. Having a lawyer with experience defending drivers at administrative hearings can often mean the difference between losing and retaining your driving privilege.
To help you better understand Nevada’s law on driving with medical restrictions, our Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. Self-reporting of medical conditions – NAC 483.330
- 2. Reports from physicians or state agencies — NAC 483.300
- 3. Examination requests by relatives — NRS 483.363
- 4. Licenses with medical restrictions — NAC 483.350
- 5. How to obtain a DMV hearing to contest a license suspension
- 6. What to expect at your Nevada DMV hearing
- 7. How can a lawyer help me at a DMV hearing?
- Additional reading
1. Self-reporting of medical conditions – NAC 483.330
Under Nevada Administrative Code 483.330, you are required to report certain medical conditions when applying for or renewing a driver’s license.
NAC 483.330 provides:
A person who has experienced any of the following physical or medical ailments or any related ailments, and who is applying for or renewing a driver’s license or who is requested by the Department to obtain a medical examination, must submit a written medical report describing the ailment and its effect on the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely:
1. Any person who experienced a lapse of consciousness occurring within the last 3 years as a result of a condition which can cause a lapse of consciousness, including, without limitation, epilepsy, diabetes, frequently reoccurring fainting or dizzy spells caused by major medical problems and major head injuries or any other injuries or ailments resulting in lapses of consciousness.
2. Any person having a cardiovascular ailment or related ailment occurring within the last 3 years which may interfere with the ability of the person to operate a motor vehicle safely, including, without limitation, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse or congestive cardiac failure.
3. Any person who has a mental, nervous or functional disease or psychiatric disorder which is likely to interfere with the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
4. Any person who has an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of rheumatic, arthritic, orthopedic, muscular, neuromuscular or vascular disease which may interfere with the ability to control and operate a motor vehicle safely.
5. Any person who has had three convictions of driving under the influence within the last 4 years.
6. Any person who does not have visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with corrective lenses.
7. Any person who the examiner has good cause to believe has a medical problem not specified herein which may interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle.
The Department will not charge a fee to any person who is required to add a restriction to his or her license as a result of a medical condition.
2. Reports from physicians or state agencies — NAC 483.300
Under Nevada Administrative Code 483.300, the DMV may suspend or restrict your license based on information received from:
(a) Federal, state or local police authorities;
(b) Licensed physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and optometrists;
(c) The Department of Health and Human Services;
(d) The State Industrial Insurance System;
(e) State and private health institutions or health practitioners;
(f) Federal or state courts; or
(g) Authorized representatives of the Department, or any other information given under oath.
Note that your physician is required by law to submit such information to the DMV if he or she believes your medical condition will affect your ability to drive.
Upon receipt of such information, the Nevada DMV will act upon it as if it were true, unless and until sufficient proof is presented to indicate the original information was untruthful.
For more information, please see Nevada’s Confidential Physician’s Report form.
3. Examination requests by relatives — NRS 483.363
NRS 483.363 provides:
1. A person who is 18 years of age or older may file with the Department a report requesting that the Department examine a licensee who:
(a) Is related to the person filing the report within the third degree of consanguinity or who is the spouse of the person filing the report; and
(b) The person filing the report reasonably and in good faith believes cannot safely operate a motor vehicle.
2. The report described in subsection 1 must:
(a) Include the name, relationship, address, telephone number and signature of the person filing the report.
(b) State the person’s basis for believing that the licensee cannot safely operate a motor vehicle, which basis must be:
(1) Personal observation or physical evidence of a physical or medical condition that has the potential to impair the ability of the licensee to operate a motor vehicle, corroborated by an affidavit from a physician in which the physician concurs that the licensee should be examined to determine the licensee’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle;
(2) Personal knowledge that the driving record of the licensee indicates the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, corroborated by an affidavit from a physician in which the physician concurs that the licensee should be examined to determine the licensee’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle; or
(3) An investigation by a law enforcement officer.
(c) Be kept confidential, except as otherwise provided in NRS 239.0115 [information in legal custody or control of government for at least 30 years] and except that the report must be released upon request of the licensee or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
No person may file more than one report concerning the same licensee within a 12-month period.
Upon receiving such a report, the Nevada DMV will give the licensee at least 5 days notice that the licensee must submit to a medical examination to determine whether he or she is fit to drive, with or without restrictions.
If you are served such a notice and you fail to answer or do not submit to the examination, the DMV may suspend or revoke your Nevada driver’s license. If your driving privilege was taken away because you were not examined, you have the right to request reinstatement of your license, subject to satisfactory completion of the DMV’s requirements for reinstatement.1
In addition, you have the right to appeal any suspension of your license following re-examination. We can help you put together your case and the information you will need for successful people.
You may also wish to take a look at the Nevada DMV Request for Re-Evaluation form.
4. Licenses with medical restrictions — NAC 483.350
Depending on the results of medical tests, the Nevada DMV may elect not to suspend or revoke your license, but to issue you a driver’s license that is subject to medically related restrictions. Such restrictions include (but are not limited to):
- Restriction B – Corrective lenses.
- Restriction C – Mechanical or adaptive device.
- Restriction D – Prosthetic aid.
- Restriction F – Outside mirrors.
- Restriction G – Daylight driving only.
- Restriction JB – Driving test every 6 months.
- Restriction JC – Eye test every 6 months.
- Restriction JF – Must have wink mirrors.
- Restriction JK – Left foot accelerator.
- Restriction JT – Speed not to exceed 45 miles per hour.
- Restriction 1 – Telescopic device.
- Restriction 2 – Hearing aid.
- Restriction 4 – Grip on steering wheel or power steering.
- Restriction 5 – Directional signals
- Restriction 6 – Yearly vision examination.
- Restriction 7 – Yearly medical letter.
- Restriction 8 – Yearly driving test.
- Restriction 9 – Seat cushion or automatic seat.
- Additional restrictions – as determined by the DMB following the recommendations of the driver’s physician.2
Further restrictions may apply to holders of Nevada commercial driver’s licenses.
In addition, Nevada law requires drivers age 65 and older to renew their licenses in person. Licenses issued to seniors are good for 4 years (as opposed to 8 years for most other drivers).
Drivers age 70 and older are also required to undergo a brief physical evaluation in order to obtain a renewal of their license.
5. How to obtain a DMV hearing to contest a license suspension
If the DMV refuses to re-issue your license, you have the right to appeal the decision.
You must request a hearing to appeal your Nevada driver’s license revocation or suspension. The hearing must be requested in writing from your nearest Nevada DMV hearings office. The Nevada DMV has three hearings offices only. They are located at:
2701 E. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104-4170
555 Wright Way
Carson City, NV 89711-0400
3920 E. Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801-4970
We can request the license hearing on your behalf if you wish us to represent you at the hearing.
You can also get more information at the Nevada DMV’s page on License Suspensions & Revocations.
6. What to expect at your Nevada DMV hearing
Your hearing will take place at the Nevada Office of Administrative Hearings in Las Vegas, Carson City or Elko. The Nevada Office of Administrative Hearings is the court of appeal for administrative actions taken by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
A judge will preside at the hearing. You can represent yourself or have an attorney represent you.
Note that if your suspension resulted from an accident, there may be separate criminal charges against you. Or you may face a civil suit for damages by another person or people involved in the accident. If so, these cases are entirely separate from the administrative hearing to restore your driver’s license. Restoration of your driving privilege will not result in the dismissal of any other case against you. Nor will dismissal or resolution of such other cases negate your need to request a hearing to reinstate your license.
A Nevada administrative hearing is conducted in much the same way as any other Nevada trial, including (without limitation):
- Witnesses testify under oath.
- Witnesses may be cross-examined.
- The judge may subpoena witnesses or evidence.
- The judge may consider physical evidence.
- The judge may consider settlement offers.
- The judge must consider all appropriate statutes, regulations and case law.
- The judge may or may not issue an immediate ruling, depending on the complexity of the case.
- Casual dress is acceptable, but dress should be appropriate for a court hearing.
- Abusive or disruptive behavior or any sign of intoxication will not be tolerated.
- There are no fees for the hearings.
- Hearings are open to the public and recorded on audio tape.
If your license is not restored, you have the right to appeal the judge’s decision in court. However, a court case is considerably more expensive than an administrative hearing.
7. How can a lawyer help me at a DMV hearing?
While you are permitted to represent yourself at a Nevada DMV hearing, doing so can be an overwhelming experience. Retaining a Nevada lawyer with experience defending driver’s at Nevada administrative hearings can be a big advantage.
Our experience in court allows us to present your case to the judge in a straightforward and persuasive manner. We can subpoena witnesses who can testify on your behalf and cross-examine the witnesses against you (if any) to find the weaknesses in their testimony. Our caring Reno or Las Vegas, Nevada driving defense lawyers will thoroughly review the record to look for any procedural mistakes that might have been made and for evidence that will allow you to keep your driving privilege.
We may even be able to negotiate directly with the Nevada DMV in order to keep you from having to request a hearing in the first place.
For more in-depth information, refer to these scholarly articles:
- Physician input and licensing of at-risk drivers: A review of all-inclusive medical evaluation forms in the US and Canada – Accident Analysis and Prevention.
- American Academy of Neurology position statement on physician reporting of medical conditions that may affect driving competence – Neurology.
- Rethinking epilepsy diagnosis and medical fitness to drive laws – Journal of Transport & Health.
- Keeping Sleepy People off the Road: The Responsibility of Drivers, Doctors, and the DMV – AMA Journal of Ethics.
- Physician reporting of medically impaired drivers – The Journal of Emergency Medicine.