Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Driving with a medical condition

Driving is complex

Health problems can affect the skill and judgment required to drive safely. Examples of medical conditions which may have an effect on your driving ability include:

  • Diabetes, when blood sugars are too low or too high
  • Heart disease, when fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms affect strength and endurance or increase the risk of losing consciousness
  • Seizure disorders, when seizures are not controlled. To be eligible for any driving product, a person must be episode free for at least three months.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) may require a person to submit medical reports, take the signs, knowledge and/or road tests, or any combination of these.

The Medical Examination Report form MV3644 is used by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Medical Review Unit to determine whether a driver meets medical standards and/or licensing eligibility. It is only acceptable when completed in full and signed by a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopath (DO), Physician Assistant (PA-C) or Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP). The report must also be based on an examination conducted within the past 3 months, unless otherwise directed by the Medical Review Unit. Any questions concerning medical issues should be directed to the Medical Review Unit at (608) 266-2327.

Restrictions

A license may be restricted based on a health care professional’s recommendation or a driving evaluation. Some examples of acceptable restrictions include:

  • Daylight driving only
  • Limited area driving
  • No freeway or interstate driving

Some examples of unacceptable restrictions include:

  • Driving with someone else in the car
  • Must check blood sugars before driving
  • No long distance driving

Functional ability

Your diagnosis alone is not as important as how the condition affects your ability to function as a driver. Areas of concern include:

  • Effects or side effects of medication
  • Reliability in following a prescribed treatment program
  • Behavioral and physical stability
  • Cognitive ("thinking") ability
  • Judgment and insight
  • Ability to stay alert
  • Reaction time
  • Range of motion (the ability to maneuver and use arms and legs)
  • Strength and endurance
  • Abuse of alcohol and other drugs

License can be cancelled or denied

WisDOT may cancel a license or deny an application for a license whenever the medical standards are not met OR whenever a physician, physician assistant or APNP indicates a person is not able to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Board can review decision

Anyone whose license is canceled or denied because of a medical condition is entitled to a review by the Medical Review Board. Information about this process is included in the notice of licensing action sent to the driver.

Temporary surrender possible

A license may be surrendered if a disability or medical condition interferes with safe driving. An identification (ID) card can be issued at the time the license is surrendered. A driver is eligible for a no-cost ID card if the DMV cancels their license after a special examination or accepts the voluntary surrender under 343.265(1) of a driver license due to a mental or physical disability, or medical condition which prevents or may prevent the person from exercising reasonable control over a motor vehicle. For the no-fee option to apply, the customer must have at least six months left on their license at the time of cancel or surrender. The driver must apply for a duplicate or renewal license once all licensing requirements are met.

More More... on surrendering a license

Vision standards

All medical and vision standards have been developed based upon available research and advice from physicians and vision specialists in Wisconsin. 

More More... on vision standards

For information about associations, organizations, or advocacy groups related to specific conditions (diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, etc.), check the Yellow Pages® or information section of the telephone book.

Alternative transportation options

Check your county's alternative transportation options for those who choose not to or cannot drive.

Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2327 or (608) 267-7784
FAX: (608) 267-0518

Last modified: October 9, 2013

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