Driving In Ohio
Transportation and driving are big issues for people with epilepsy.
Ohio Driver Licensing Laws
Ohio's application for a driver's license asks if the applicant is now or has ever been afflicted with epilepsy or any other physical or mental disability or disease, and, if so, the nature of the disability and the name and address of the applicant’s physician. There is no specific length of time a person must be seizure-free. [OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 4507.06(C) (2011)]. The applicant is required to report under oath the existence of any medical or physical condition which may impair driving when testing or applying for an Ohio license. If the registrar orders the applicant to obtain a medical evaluation before licensing, he or she must submit the report within 20 days. [OHIO ADMIN. CODE 4501:1-1-18]. If the individual's physician completes a medical form indicating the condition is dormant or under sufficient medical control for the safe operation of a motor vehicle and reports the time period it has been under control, the person may be offered a restricted license valid for 6 months. At the end of 6 months, the physician must submit another medical report from which the registrar determines whether the licensee should be reissued a restricted license, be denied licensure, or be licensed without restrictions. [OHIO REV. CODE ANN. §§ 4507.08(D)(3), 4507.20]. A person with epilepsy may be licensed without restrictions on a yearly basis by submitting a physicians report stating that the condition is under medical control or dormant and, if taking medication, that person can be relied upon to take the medication. [OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 4507.081. See also OHIO ADMIN. CODE 4501:1-1-04 (2010)].
A physician who provides such information has no explicit immunity from liability for damages arising out of an accident caused by a seizure. Courts have held that physicians have a duty to exercise reasonable care when they certify that a patient who is subject to impaired consciousness is under effective medical control under §4507.08. A physician may be liable for injuries to third parties resulting from the patient's actions [Krejci v. Akron Pediatric Neurology, Inc., Ohio App. 3d 273, N.E.2d 129 (1987)].
A person whose license is denied or suspended may appeal the decision by requesting an administrative hearing. The request must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the mailing of the suspension/denial notice.
Ohio has not adopted the federal Department of Transportation's medical criteria for licensing individuals to drive commercial vehicles intrastate. To be eligible for a license to drive a transit bus or taxi, a person must meet the same medical criteria as for a personal vehicle license [OHIO REV. CODE ANN. §§ 4507.08, 4506.03]. Per order from the Ohio Board of Education, an individual cannot be licensed to operate a school bus if he or she has an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control and safely operate a school bus. [OHIO ADMIN. CODE 3301-83-07].
Ohio Identification Card
A person may apply for an ID card by presenting their social security card and birth certificate at a license bureau and paying the $8.50 fee. If the individual currently has a license, he or she must consent to the license being canceled. Identification cards are also available to drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked. To receive a temporary identification card, drivers must take the suspension notice to the Deputy Registrar Office. The Deputy will then issue an Ohio identification card. The temporary identification card will indicate the ending date of the suspension. If the suspension is indefinite, the card will indicate the normal expiration date for the temporary identification card [OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 4507.50].
There is no statutory provision requiring physicians to report patients who have been treated for or diagnosed as having epilepsy to a central state agency.
© 2014 Epilepsy Foundation. All rights reserved. This summary was developed for informational purposes by the Epilepsy Foundation and reflects a review of data available as of August 2014. Information is subject to change. This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. For further information, please consult your state Department of Motor Vehicles.