Get Up to Speed on New Driving Rules, Medical Restrictions

Please Note: Due to technical difficulties, the updated Guide for Determining Driver Limitation and the referral forms for physicians are currently unavailable on the Department of State Health Services website. TMA has posted the most-recent Guide for Determining Driver Limitation and referral forms for physicians, provided by DSHS , May 12, 2016.

Physicians play an important role in helping to ensure drivers of all ages are medically fit to get behind the wheel. For the first time since 1991, Texas has updated its driving guidelines with changes that better reflect advances in medical care in the past 23 years. 

The updated Guide for Determining Driver Limitation :

  • Better aligns driving rules with common-sense advice given by doctors to patients;
  • Addresses specific problems not addressed previously, such as dementia and implantable defibrillators; and 
  • Recognizes primary care doctors perform the majority of driver assessments and counseling. 

The guide features rules for driving restrictions for those with medical conditions, such as seizures, dementia, sleep disorders, and cardiac disease.

The Texas Medical Advisory Board (MAB) for Driver Licensing, a group made up of 14 physicians, including members of the Texas Neurological Society, helped update the guide. MAB functions under the direction of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and works to reduce traffic deaths, disability, and injury by evaluating medical histories, providing medical opinions, and making recommendations to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) regarding the medical limitations of referred drivers.

The DSHS  website  has a referral form physicians can use to voluntarily inform MAB of a patient the physician has diagnosed as having a disorder or disability specified in the Texas driving rules. The site also links to information on older and younger drivers, a physician's guide to assessing and counseling older drivers, fact sheets for medical professionals, and more. 

When a physician refers a patient case to MAB for evaluation, the board reviews the medical facts and reaches an opinion. At that time, the board forwards a written recommendation to the DPS Driver License Division, which informs the individual of the decision. DPS is solely responsible for all actions taken with regard to licensing. 

The Texas Neurological Society has helpful resources physicians can consult to get up to speed on the new driving rules. These include a quick guide to health conditions and recommended driving restrictions, as well as a summary of the driving rules

For more information or if you're interested in serving on MAB, contact Patricia Bryars at DSHS by email or by calling (512) 834-6739.

Action, Nov. 14, 2014