Driver's licenses.....suspended in CA?

This is the most ridiculous situation and I don’t know what to do about this… I had a hearing with the DMV concerning my diabetes all because I checked the box stating I now have diabetes. It was a nice interview.

Long story short is my suspension was up held by the CA dmv due to my Dr. stating that I was an uncontrolled diabetic on the paperwork I turned in. Because I never received actual paperwork of the decision, I can’t even file for a 2nd hearing. I have to go through the whole process over again. I spoke to a DMV advocate that stated they will give me 3 months before giving me another hearing. Meanwhile I am suspended from driving!! I originally thought I would get a driving with a medical probation but NO…

My diabetes has never affected my driving. I have never had any issue with my diabetes. I have never experience any issues while driving with my diabetes. I check my glucose levels as prescribed by doctor-3x a day.

They give DUI defendants hard luck driving privileges. All of this because i was honest and checked that I am became diabetic in between renewal. I consistently drive now with long distances. This is stopping me from getting a 2nd delivery job.

Any suggestions…

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Wow…Let me think on it. Really seems unfair and challengeable!..

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Why on earth would your doctor have stated that you are an uncontrolled diabetic? That is what probably caused the suspension.

BTW, it is common practice for a diabetic to always test right before driving and at 1 hour intervals if driving long distances.

I didn’t renew my driver’s license several years ago because of non-diabetic vision issues and find it extremely cumbersome because I live in the boonies. But I didn’t need to drive in order to earn a living like you do. It must be very difficult for you. Try talking to your doctor about reversing his statement. Of course, you also have to make an effort for greater diabetic control. I feel for you!


Massachusetts asks whether you take any drugs that can effect your state of consciousness and I always answer yes because I use insulin. I’m then required to bring a letter from my endo saying that he doesn’t see a reason not to renew my license. I would suggest getting such a letter from your doctor now and then requesting a new hearing. If you are denied you might call the ADA and speak to an advocate who might have some suggestion on moving forward.


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Uncontrolled diabetes is a standard diagnosis which is usually first added to the medical record on diagnosis. I think it was still sitting on my record - with no ill effects - at least five years in when I consistently had an A1c under 6.


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I lost my license for 6 months here in CA a long time ago. It was when I was first pregnant and didn’t realize how fast blood sugars can drop. Didn’t get it an accident but ended up on a hill and the police were called. They were the ones who let the DMV know. I did have my doctor write a letter explaining the whole thing, she was very supportive. And I also called the ADA. They put me in touch with an attorney who helped me my letter writing. Like I said, I lost it for 6 months, which was hugely challenging due to the fact there is not much public transportation in CA. But we got through it and I had to go 3 years without any moving violations or being unconscious.
It will be a struggle and a headache but I had a medical team that was working with me not against me. I would like you need to be having a conversation with your doctor. Doctors are usually the ones who report someone to the DMV and it is usually if you are having lows that cause you to lose consciousness. They are liable if they don’t. It seems here, there is a big disconnect with your doctor. Hopefully he/she just filed something incorrectly and it might be an easy fix. Good luck. After talking wi5 your doctor, I would definitely call the ADA and see about legal options.


It’s been my experience that most clinicians use the “uncontrolled diabetes” diagnosis and code, even for their patients who are better controlled than the average patient. It’s a billing code. I speculate that the doctors use that diagnosis and code since the insurance companies will allow an extended visit (> 15 minutes or so). I’ve questioned this visit diagnosis and code and the practitioners changed it at the next visit.

Some of that designation, I believe, is actually just habit and inertia. I once caught them coding me as uncontrolled type 2, even though I am T1D. I usually has no real world effect but I think the doctor was careless in this case and now the DMV is using it against you. Did you go back to the doctor and let him/her know what happened?


I always answer no. Insulin does not affect my state of consciousness. Overdosing on any medication could affect my ability to do anything, insulin is no different and in my case warrants no additional scrutiny.


In California, the Dmv hearing is usually done by an individual who has significant medical Knowledge. I say this, because I have been there more than once. The uncontrolled Diabetes was most likely the trigger for the suspension, since they are worried about hypo/hyper-glycemic events impacting your ability to drive, and react to external stimuli.

Have your physician write an letter that explains the diagnosis with regards to the new coding system so there is a clear understanding of what is meant by uncontrolled. Also have the Dr include statements if possible regarding what risk if any, you are when operating a motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, this is a tough break for you. The Dmv is largely inflexible when it comes to Medical hearings and you have to adhere to their timeline. The 3 months waiting period is to see if you stabilize and are less of a risk.

Best of luck. I survived twice relatively unscathed … There won’t be a 3rd time for me.


My husband was a police officer for 30 years, now retired. He told me to NEVER check that box about having an impairment, unless I wanted to have my license taken away.

I never have.


That seems like a real no-brainer to me.


As someone who has been through this many, many times, I will answer any questions that you have to the best of my ability. There are very few resources to research how this works. I have learned through experience.

I am in Minnesota and our computer system doesn’t function well with respect to medical privileges. CA has had problems of its own. If CA is like MN, the department of public safety rules this process. DMV is an organization within that. The cops, legally, have to send mail to your residential address, whereas DMV can send mail to a secure PO box. This may have contributed to you not being notified. Now, at the same time, they ARE legally required to notify you in writing. So, I don’t let them off the hook just because they say they can’t send me mail because that seems pretty unamerican. Written explanation seems reasonable in the case where someone might loose a job and be put at risk.

It is illegal not to check the box, but it can save you a lot of hassle to not check that box. So, that’s up to your judgement. Sometimes, the Docs office will report, to the state, newly diagnosed diabetics, so exercise caution. Your license can potentially be suspended at any time for NOT checking the box, but it depends on how the state system works. There are no take backs now that you have checked it. I assume you are an insulin dependent. Otherwise, this whole thing doesn’t make ANY sense.

If I were your diabetic advocate, I would ask you for several things to make sure you are reinstated in 3 months:

1.) Consider seeing a different Doc. I have actually never, personally, known of a diabetic who had the MD revoke it, especially with no episodes of loss of consciousness behind the wheel. This sounds really strange.

2.) Keep meticulous written records of your BG over the next three months. I want it in an Excel spreadsheet or somewhere where you wont loose it and its easy to read. I want a good a1c (but, ‘good’ is open to interpretation). You may need to make your case in front of a medical board at Dept of Public Safety and these records are your entire case.

3.) Now that your license has been revoked, police will be curious and want to stop you more, so be prepared for that when you are reinstated.

4.) Know that there is a lot more paperwork that will be required of you in order to keep a license, now. You need to think VERY carefully about if driving for a living is the best career. This may be a high risk occupation if the state can yank your license at any moment and send you into bankruptcy. Consider living on a good bus line.

5.) It is the summer months, now, so make sure your BG’s are as stable as possible, and that you have snacks, because it will be risky for you if you need to start biking. Traffic is dangerous. There will be no one to help you if you have an episode all alone somewhere rural. Consider buying a waterproof box for diabetes supplies. Exercise will disrupt your typical blood sugars and make them more erratic.

6.) Go to the building that houses the state Dept of public safety/DMV and find out EXACTLY why they can’t send you mail. If they refuse to answer or cant say, then go to another office. But, the main location for the state of CA will know. This will be difficult since you don’t drive, but you often need to show up in person to get answers. Keep records of what they say in your BG record on the computer. This portion can be a real nightmare. Be prepared for that.

7.) Now that the state has declared you “Too handicapped” to drive, there may be some mobility resources available to you in the meantime. For instance, disability or (we have something called) metro mobility, which gives the elderly and disabled rides.

8.) Be aware that CA, like MN, has DMV computer system melt downs. Its on the list of states that have a super bad system. I’d say its the second worst in the nation, second only to MN. If this becomes a big problem, you might consider moving. I cant recommend MN or IL.

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In MN, there is no “hearing”. There is a simple, one page form where you fill out the top half before giving it to your doctor to complete the bottom half and submit it to the DMV. The Doctor is the one who says yes or no to retaining your drivers license. The doctor also is given the power of saying how long before the next review…from as short as 6 months to as long as 3 years.

@Dale8 In MN, you can request a hearing with the medical evaluation board at department of public saftey. You can appeal a medical revocation in front of a medical board. That is only necessary if medical revocation occurs. In general, you just fill out the paperwork. If you are late on the paperwork, you get a 1 month grace period, then they suspend.

They will reinstate if you have the paperwork. However, since our computer system is still not functioning, it may take 1 day to reinstate, or it might take 1 month. Lots of unknowns.

You will not see a box for this on the form, but actually the shortest interval of time before the paperwork is due again is 3 months. Lots of the business logic about how the process actually works is not found on that form. It takes a lot of foot work to be informed about the process. No one will tell you outright.

Also, these deadlines aren’t hard and fast - it depends on when the man at DPS puts the paperwork into the computer and you are reinstated. There is a level of unpredictability. So, it can be a huge issue for people who can’t receive mail from DPS.

1-4 MNLARS handouts.pdf. Paper presented at the Meeting: Thursday, January 4, 2018, Retrieved from
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As I think about it, perhaps you could spend a month collecting spectacular records and ask another MD to sign for you. A second opinion might clear this mess right up.

Did the doc give you any information about how or why he declared you ‘uncontrolled’ or what steps you could take to become ‘controlled?’

By saying that you are unfit to drive, he has sorta declared your life at risk because you are a diabetic who is not stable enough to maintain consciousness. Do you agree with this assessment? If he is saying your life is at risk, you deserve to know why and what you can do about it. If he hasn’t told you that, then you are receiving BAD care. I would schedule a follow up and ask him some important questions.

However, sometimes people just check the wrong box and that can be remedied. I saw an elderly man in the clinic last year, who was declared a diabetic, even though he wasn’t. The clinic sent that diagnosis to the state and he was never notified until he was pulled over with a suspended license. He had just had a heart attack and was going to have a lot of difficulty sorting things out. It was very unfortunate and put him into a precarious position where he couldn’t get to Drs appointments.

I’ll be hoping that this works out for you. Its tough. Sending best wishes, from a girl in the North, to a girl in the West. Just for the record, I fought the law and I WON!!! But, It was more difficult than I imagined.

This is only an accurate statement if your response to insulin is causing you to be unable to safely operate a vehicle. The question is not “do you use insulin” it’s something along the lines of “do you take any medications that can cause you to lose consciousness.” Insulin certainly doesn’t cause me to lose consciousness, so why on earth would I mark that? The solution is to a) be tightly controlled so you’re not required to mark the box, and b) don’t mark the box


Our form asks, bluntly, “Do you take insulin,” and then has a YES/NO to circle. So, I don’t think we can get around it. If we say “Yes,” then, we get pushed into the medical certification process (potential to be a world of pain). If we lie, and they find out, they suspend for 6 months. But, people do lie and get away with it.

Can someone post the form? The CA form sounds better than the MN form. Have you seen the IL form? Its terrible.

P.S. @Sam19, I like your lawyering. My Doc splits hairs like that. He’s the best! But, my lawyer doesn’t approve. If you can error on the side of living your life and not spending hours in the DMV, I’m all for that. If its at all open to interpretation, I’d consider not reporting it.

@mohe0001 FWIW, every time I have had a medical suspension, my license has been invalidated at the ER. They notified Bureau of Vital Satistics, who notified Calif DMV. From event to notification via snail mail was 6 to 7 weeks. Once notified, I had to make an appt with Medical Examiner, who would not see me for any reason before the 3.month waiting period was up. I did fail on the first exam and had to wait an additional 3.months for a second exam. Prior to my 2nd exam, I got a referral to an Endo, who after 2 months of current data, and. 6 months of historical data filled out the DMV form with me and crafted a letter that stated my chances of a hypo were negligible, and hypo was medication induced. Medications changed = low/no risk for hypo. That’s really all the DMV wants to know.

Over a 15 year period I have been suspended on multiple occasions at DMV due to hypos/seizures. The first time I emerged basically unscathed. The 2nd time, I lost my Commercial license HazMat endorsement. The. 3rd, my Commercial license. I was informed there will be no more chances ever, and If I move to another state, my DMV medical record will follow. Happy days.

I never check that box ever.

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Here is the medical info published on the first page of the California Driver License renewal form.

The following conditions that may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely include, but are not limited to: loss of consciousness; episode of marked confusion caused by any condition which may bring about recurring lapses; disease, disorder, or disability (examples of these are epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, cataracts, Parkinson’s disease); decrease or change in your vision due to cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, or other progressive condition; health problems because of alcohol or drug abuse.

Here’s the question posed on the form.

I’m with Sam on this one. The form tells us that the following list of conditions may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you have diabetes but don’t think that it affects your ability to drive safely, then I think you can honestly check the no box. If you have had incidents and accidents related to diabetes glucose control then I think you’re stuck answering yes. If the DMV has records of such incidents and accidents, I don’t see how you can get around answering yes.

We owe it to ourselves and fellow citizens to always check our BGs before driving.


I live in MA and I always answer “no” for the same reason.