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 disability

How do I obtain a driver license?

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) evaluates whether a customer can safely operate a motor vehicle by conducting knowledge tests, driving examinations or evaluations, highway sign identification tests, and vision screenings. To legally operate a motor vehicle, you must have an instruction permit, driving receipt, or a valid driver license.

You may also be asked to provide a medical report completed by a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice nurse prescriber (APNP). The health care professional may be asked to assess or comment on your judgment, reliability in following the treatment plan, ability to problem-solve, reaction time, and other indications of your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

If the medical condition and resulting disability are stable and non-progressive, further medical reports may not be necessary. Once the medical reports are approved, licensing personnel at the DMV service center will determine if an evaluation is needed.

If you already have a license, you still may be asked to complete a driving evaluation (a test of driving skills) to determine if you can safely operate a motor vehicle. Included are maneuvers that evaluate your ability to use special equipment or otherwise compensate for your disability.

You may have restrictions applied to your license. Some examples of restrictions are: automatic transmission, steering knob, hand controls, outside mirrors, use of a prosthesis. Restrictions are used when there is a demonstrated need for them or when recommended by a physician, physician assistant or APNP.

To ask about driving evaluations and other procedures used by licensing staff to determine eligibility for licensing, contact your local DMV service center.

Information about special equipment to modify a vehicle

Look in the yellow pages of the phone directory under van and truck conversion, automobile hand and foot controls, or wheelchair lifts and ramps. Also check with your automobile dealer. Most of the major automobile companies provide information about mobility for persons who are physically challenged. It is a good idea to find out about DMV requirements before purchasing special equipment.

Check the community services section of your phone book (information pages - front part) under disabled services for answers to other questions you might have about services available to you.

There are three products available which provide accessible parking for persons with a disability:

  • Special identification or hang tag card: a permanent or temporary card issued to any eligible Wisconsin resident who has a temporary or permanent physical disability which limits mobility
  • Disabled license plates: issued upon request and renewed annually
  • Disabled Veteran license plates: issued upon request to any eligible Wisconsin resident who has a significantly permanent physical disability which limits mobility. This must be by reason of injuries sustained while in the active U.S. Military Service. These plates also must be renewed annually

These three products all provide:

  • Parking in spaces reserved for persons with a disability
  • Exemption from time limitations in parking places with hour or more limit in municipally owned or leased parking lots, and on streets or highways
  • Exemption of payment in metered stalls with hour or more time limitation
  • Purchase of motor fuel dispensed from a full-service pump at the same price as the motor fuel dispensed from a self-service pump. This applies where the dealer sells motor fuel at retail from both full-service and self-service pumps.

A listing of DMV service centers issuing disabled ID cards may be obtained by contacting the Special Plates Unit:

DMV Special Plates Unit
P.O. Box 7911
Madison, WI 53707-7911

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

Last modified: April 16, 2012
BDS/QIS/MRU

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