MEDICAL REVIEW BOARD SUSPENSIONS
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What happens when someone reports that a citizen is unable to safely drive a motor vehicle as a result of some physical condition, mental impairment, medical condition or addiction to alcohol or drugs.
In many of these cases, the driver will receive a letter requesting the driver to report to the Division of Motor Services Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) Office to “discuss your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle” You might also be asked to bring a complete list of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that you are currently taking. The letter from the hearing officer warns that “[f]ailure to report will result in the suspension of your privilege to drive.”
The Florida Department of Transportation provides funding for Florida’s Medical Review Process. Allegations of unsafe driving reported to the medical review board often involve a variety of different types of medical conditions;
- vision problems;
- substance abuse;
- medication that affects the ability to drive safely;
- reckless or poor driving as a result of medical issues;
- observations of dings, dents or scratches that might have resulted because of a medical condition; or
- observations of a citizen acting confused or getting lost while driving in familiar areas and thinking there may be a possible medical cause for the behavior.
Florida law allows the reports to be kept strictly confidential. In fact, no civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person or agency for providing this information.
In some cases, the physician will refer the patient for a “Driver Safety Evaluation” which is a self-pay service that includes a clinical driver safety assessment and driver skill retaining course.
The Medical Reporting Form Used in Florida
According to the Medical Reporting Form, physical or mental disabilities that could lead to being unable to safely operate or drive a motor vehicle could include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Alcohol Addiction;
- Drug Addiction;
- Psychiatric Disturbance;
- Dementia/Memory Defects;
- Epilepsy with recent “Petit mal” or absence seizures and partial seizures with complex symptomatology or even isolated seizure with a normal encephalogram;
- Severe Cardiac Condition;
- Loss of Consciousness;
- Uncontrollable Diabetes
- Severe Visual Defect; or
- Sleep Disorders.
Once a report is made using Florida’s Medical Reporting Form, the DHSMV conducts an investigation of the accusation of being medically unsafe to drive. If the Department finds that “cause” is found, then the driver receives notice that he or she is under medical review. The driver is asked to provide medical information from their physician to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida’s DHSMV’s Medical Advisory Board
DHSMV’s Medical Advisory Board advises DHSMV on medical issues relating to driver licensing standards. To fulfill this obligation, the Medical Advisory Board helps the DHSMV stay current with medical and scientific advancements.
The board reports on the individual physical and mental qualifications of a licensee or applicant. Florida law required that the Board have between 12 and 25 members. Every member but two must be a licensed doctor of medicine. Additionally, at least one member must be a Florida licensed optometrist and a member in good standing of the Florida Optometric Association.
- Require the driver to provide additional information;
- Require the driver to re-take the driving test; or
- Revoke or deny the driver of a driver’s license or privilege to drive in the State of Florida.
Florida Statute Section 322.126
Florida Statute Section 322.126 (2), (3), provides that “Any physician, person, or agency having knowledge of any licensed driver’s or applicant’s mental or physical disability to drive…is authorized to report such knowledge to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles… The reports authorized by this section shall be confidential… No civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person or agency who provides the information herein.
Administrative Hearings in the Medical Review Process
If the Florida DHSMV takes any action to deny or revoke the driver’s license then the driver should demand an administrative hearing to appeal the decision. During the administrative hearing, the driver can present evidence and testimony that he is capable of driving and may bring witnesses to testify on his behalf. If you need an experienced attorney for a Medical Review investigation and administrative hearing, then give us a call to discuss the case.
What is the Goal in these Cases?
For an attorney representing a client under investigation by the medical review board, the goal in these cases is getting a letter from the Medical Review Section that says that the Medical Advisory Board has completed the review of the case and recommended approval of your driving privileges so that “you may keep the license in your possession.”
In some cases, the Medical Advisory Board will require that you submit a follow-up report in one year. The MRS will promise to mail the form at that time.
Reporting an Unsafe Driver
Any physician, person or agency can report a driver who may be unsafe to operate a motor vehicle as a result of a medical condition. The report should be made in writing, giving the full name, date of birth, address and a description of the alleged physical or mental disability that could affect the driving ability of any person over 15 years of age. See more detailed information on the Medical Conditions & Driver Safety brochure.
Form 72190 may be used to report these concerns. These reports are kept strictly confidential and shall be used only to determine the qualifications of the individual to operate a motor vehicle on Florida’s highways. No civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person or agency for providing this information.
Medical Identification Bracelet Driving Requirement
The Division of Motorist Services can place an indicator on your driver license and record to show that you are required to wear a medical identification bracelet while operating a motor vehicle. Visit your local driver license service center to obtain this indicator.
Temporary Vision Issues and Driving Privilege
To reinstate your driving privilege, please submit a “Report of Eye Examination,” completed by your eye doctor, showing your vision acuity meets the Florida requirements for licensure. You may also print the “Report of Eye Examination” form 72010 here, or obtain a copy at your local driver license service center. This report can be mailed to:
DHSMV Bureau of Motorist Compliance, Vision Section
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 90
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0507
You will then receive a letter from the Division of Motorist Services, which you will take to any driver license service center in your area to obtain a reinstated driver license.
If you fail to submit a vision report upon request by DHSMV, your driver license will be revoked. You must submit a report of eye exam to a Florida Driver License Office showing that minimum vision standards are met in order to be considered for a driver license. Minimum vision acuity in both eyes must be 20/70 or better with corrective lens. If record states “Inadequate/Field of Vision,” then a vision report, including a “Field of Vision Chart” must be mailed to the above mailing address.
The Medical Board will review the chart and advise the department. The department will advise you of the decision.
Submitting a Medical Report to DHSMV
If requested by DHSMV to submit a medical report, you must mail the required medical information to:
DHSMV Bureau of Motorist Compliance, Medical Section
2900 Apalachee Parkway – MS 86
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0507
The Medical Board will make a recommendation to the department and the department will advise you of the decision.
If you fail to submit a medical report requested by DHSMV, your driver license will be revoked.
Other Medical Conditions That Impact Driving Privilege
Because every medical condition is different, the best option is to contact our Medical Review Section at 850-617-3814. Each case will be evaluated and you will be advised of the necessary procedures.
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