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Driver license restrictions for medical conditions

What are driver license restrictions?

To a great degree, driving privileges are based on your physical ability to drive. Drivers of any age can have driver license restrictions. A restriction on your driver license limits when you can drive or requires that you meet specific conditions when you drive. For example, the most common driver license restriction is the "corrective lenses" restriction. This restriction requires the driver to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses when driving, and it is a violation of the law if the driver fails to wear corrective lenses.

There are restrictions that require the use of a device that assists a driver who has a physical or mental condition. For example, there are restrictions that require drivers to use a hearing aid or a prosthetic device when they drive. There are also restrictions on the time of day the driver can drive, like a restriction that allows driving only during daylight hours.

If there is a restriction on your driver license, an explanation of the restriction is printed on the back of your license document. For example, a driver who must wear corrective lenses has the words "CORRECTIVE LENSES" listed under "RESTRICTIONS".

 

Common restrictions include:

Corrective lenses - All drivers must pass a vision test administered by DMV or must supply proof that they passed a vision test given by a qualified vision care professional. A driver who needs eye glasses or contact lenses to pass the vision test receives a "corrective lenses" restriction. If a driver has surgery and no longer needs corrective lenses, this restriction may be removed. 1

Telescopic lenses - Telescopic lenses are corrective lenses that are much more powerful than normal eyeglasses or contact lenses. A driver who needs telescopic lens to pass a driver license vision test must send a completed and submit an Eye Test Report for Medical Review Unit form (MV-80L). The Medical Review Unit (MRU) adds the restriction to the driver record. If the driver later does not need telescopic lenses, they can submit a new form MV-80L to remove the restriction.

Daylight driving only - If an eye care professional indicates that vision at night will be impaired, a "DAYLIGHT DRIVING ONLY" restriction is added to driver license.

 

How a medical condition can affect getting or renewing a driver license

All drivers are required to answer the following questions when they apply for a driver license or a renewal. The information below explains what happens if the driver answers "yes" to the question.

Have you had, or are you currently receiving treatment or taking medication for any condition which causes unconsciousness or unawareness such as convulsive disorder, epilepsy, fainting or dizzy spells, or heart ailment?

If you answer yes to this question, you must send Physicians Statement for Medical Review form (MV-80U.1), completed by a qualified doctor, to DMV’s Medical Review Unit (MRU). The MRU will contact you with information, requirements and instructions.

Do you need a hearing aid or full view mirror while operating a motor vehicle?

If you answer yes to this question, a DMV employee will test your hearing.  If your hearing is not acceptable, a restriction of "HEARING AID OR FULL-VIEW MIRROR" is added to the driver license.

If you wear a hearing aid and cannot pass the hearing test, you must use a "full view" rearview mirror.

Have you lost use of a leg, arm, hand or eye?

If you answer yes to this question, you must meet with a DMV examiner from the Testing and Investigation Unit at a DMV office. The examiner determines what is required and whether restrictions must be added to your driver license. The DMV can also require you to take and pass a road test to keep the driver license.

 

Common driver license restrictions

CodeNote on Driver LicenseDescription
AACCEL LEFT OF BRAKERequires an extension on the gas pedal so the pedal can be reached by the left foot. Normally required because the driver cannot use their right leg.
BCORRECTIVE LENSESThe driver must wear corrective lenses.
CMECHANICAL AIDRequires a device to assist the driver to operate the vehicle.
DPROSTHETIC DEVICEThe driver is required to use an external or implanted device that replaces or supplements a missing or damaged body part.
EAUTOMATIC TRANSThe driver cannot operate a vehicle with a standard transmission.
FHEARING AID OR FULL-VIEW MIRRORSee the explanation above.
GDAYLIGHT DRIVING ONLYThe driver can only drive in daylight hours (between one-half hour after sunrise until one-half hour before sunset).
PPOWER BRAKESThe driver can only operate a vehicle that has power brakes.
QPOWER STEERINGThe driver can only operate a vehicle that has power steering.
RBUILT UP SEAT/PED/SHOESpecial equipment and/or shoes are required that allow the driver to see over the dashboard and clearly through the windshield when driving.
UHAND-OPERATED BRAKEThe driver can only operate a vehicle that has brakes operated by hand controls.
VFOOT OPER PARKING BRAKEThe driver can only operate a vehicle that has a parking brake operated by the foot.
XFULL HAND CONTROLThe driver can only operate a vehicle that has hand controls for the accelerator and the brake.
YSHOULDER HARNESS USEThe driver must use the shoulder harness of the seat belt system.
ZWHEEL SPINNERThe driver is allowed to have a knob installed on the steering wheel because of a physical condition.
3TELESCOPIC LENSThe driver must wear telescopic lenses when driving (see explanation above).
5NO LIMITED ACCESS RDSThe driver cannot drive on highways that have on ramps and off ramps.

 

 See also Resources for Older Drivers

  • 1.

    How to remove the corrective lenses restriction (B restriction) from your driver license after you have vision correction surgery.

    By Mail: Your vision care professional must complete a Vision Test Report form (MV-619). If your vision care professional is enrolled in the DMV Online Vision Registry, the professional will notify you that your test results will be entered electronically, and you will not need a Vision Test Report form.

    If you use a Vision Test Report form with a print date of 9/03 or earlier, the form is valid for 6 months after the date of the vision test. If the form has a print date of 3/04 or later, the vision care professional marks a box on the form to indicate if the form is valid for 6 months or for 12 months after the date of the vision test.

    You must complete an Application for a Driver License form (MV-44). Mail the forms and the fee of $17.50 to your local DMV office. The DMV mails your new photo driver license with the restriction removed in approximately two weeks.

    Online: If your vision care professional is enrolled in the DMV Online Vision Registry, the professional will notify you that your test results will be entered electronically, and you can remove the corrective lenses restriction by renewing or replacing your driver license.

    At a local DMV Office: You must complete an Application for a Driver License form (MV-44), pass a vision test at the DMV office and pay the fee of $17.50. The DMV office will issue you a temporary driver license without a photo and with the restriction removed. You will receive your new photo driver license without the restriction by mail in approximately two weeks.