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Loss of Driver’s License for Seizures

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dmp336

Lapsed Senior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Posts
181
Hello friends! I just was wondering if someone could answer a question? I have epilepsy, but my seizures are USUALLY controlled by my medications, which are Lamictal and Klonopin. I take my meds exactly as prescribed, but I usually have a seizure about 4 times a year. I guess I can’t complain since some people suffer from seizures on a regular basis. My problem though is that when I do have a seizure and go to the ER or see my neurologist, they suspend my driver’s license for six months. This is understandable of course since no one wants to be on the road with a driver who is having a seizure.

I have to be honest though. Since I still have seizures a few times a year, I usually don’t bother telling anyone or going to the ER because after my seizure is over, I’m back to normal within a few hours. Also, I am able to tell when I’m about to have a seizure since I know the signs now. I get shaky, my legs get weak, I smell burnt toast, food tastes different, and I get blurred vision. My point is, I’m not going to drive if I know I’m going to have a seizure, and if it is documented, then I lose my license for six months. Being an adult with a family and a job, it is nearly impossible for me to live without being able to drive.

I live in Pennsylvania, and several doctors and others have told me that if my license is suspended more than three times, I lose it forever! Does anyone know if this is true? It has been almost two years now that I have not had a license due to three documented seizures. But now I fear that if I have another seizure that is documented, I’ll lose my license forever. Can anyone tell me who I can ask for a definite answer? I even asked the DMV and they said they didn’t know. Any advice on what I should do would be greatly appreciated! Take care my friends!
 

Bella38

Honorable member
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
Posts
430
@dmp336
I live in Pa also and my husband is epileptic .. I can tell you that is what his neurologist told him as well.. Hea been epileptic for about 4 years a now.. Suffered from a bad fall / head injury and it’s been down hill since.. This past February he had a bad one and he just can’t even work right now because of it.. he’s completely wiped out:. So since the covid hit in March he hasn’t been able to get any testing done . I’m thinking he needs a med change .. I hear seizure meds can stop working at anytime and it is trial and error to find one that works for each individual .

Anyways back on topic.. Every tine he has a seizure they say no driving for 6 months and if you have more than 3 the Dr is to revoke driving .. His neurologist hasn’t done that to him but she does tell him if he is to be in a wreck and kill someone due to having a seizure he would be in big trouble because it is noted in med records. So for now I drive miss daisy wherever we need to go..

Hope this helps answer your question.
 

feisty

Distinguished member
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Posts
583
My brother has epilepsy and yes after the third documented time you lose your license forever. My brother has them all the time and is also a tiny bit on the special needs side with a mind around a 18 year old or maybe younger but he is 52. All he has ever wanted is to drive a car. So one day he decided he was going to get behind the wheel when my mom was not paying attention that he took the car. He had a sezuire and his a family head-on. He had always argued before with the docs that he knew when he was getting one but this day at this time he did not know. Or Maybe he was just enjoying his new foudn freedom he has fought years for or and didn't pay attention to the signs. He killed two people and was in ICU for 2 weeks.

This was back in 2011. Now he is in a group home type place but has his own apartment, and he is a social butterfly so he loves it. Kind of like assisted living but for those with special needs.

I can't tell you to have it documented or to not drive or to drive. Just sharing my story on what happened in my family.
 

dmp336

Lapsed Senior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Posts
181
I truly appreciate the responses from you guys. @Bella38, you were able to give me more information than three different neurologists and the PA DOH. @feisty, I felt like your story was both helpful and relatable as well. As I stated, I can tell hours before I’m about to have a seizure, but it is also true that I could have one out of the blue. My issue though is that I am only 37, so right now my father has been super helpful and drives me when I need to go somewhere. But what about 10 years from now? 20? 30? My father is in poor health and recovering from prostate cancer, so it kills me that he has to take care of me when it should be me caring for him. And chances are, I’m probably going to live longer than he will, so what then? I am at a loss for words to even describe what this has done to my mental health. And guess what? I usually have seizures during times of stress. I just wish they could issue a restricted license so that I could have a person in the passenger seat. That way if I were to randomly have a seizure, the passenger could easily just pull the emergency brake. I can’t afford to not work, and I live in a very rural area where no one is going to be willing to drive me. I also was denied disability due to my age and whatever the doc who testified in my case saying that he sees no reason why I couldn’t have a job. It’s like I can’t win. I have had to battle my entire life to achieve accomplishments that any normal
person just takes for granted since it seems like they would just be normal god given rights. Arg, it is so frustrating! I’m starting to rant now so I’ll stop. But thanks for the responses!
 

feisty

Distinguished member
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Posts
583
I truly appreciate the responses from you guys. @Bella38, you were able to give me more information than three different neurologists and the PA DOH. @feisty, I felt like your story was both helpful and relatable as well. As I stated, I can tell hours before I’m about to have a seizure, but it is also true that I could have one out of the blue. My issue though is that I am only 37, so right now my father has been super helpful and drives me when I need to go somewhere. But what about 10 years from now? 20? 30? My father is in poor health and recovering from prostate cancer, so it kills me that he has to take care of me when it should be me caring for him. And chances are, I’m probably going to live longer than he will, so what then? I am at a loss for words to even describe what this has done to my mental health. And guess what? I usually have seizures during times of stress. I just wish they could issue a restricted license so that I could have a person in the passenger seat. That way if I were to randomly have a seizure, the passenger could easily just pull the emergency brake. I can’t afford to not work, and I live in a very rural area where no one is going to be willing to drive me. I also was denied disability due to my age and whatever the doc who testified in my case saying that he sees no reason why I couldn’t have a job. It’s like I can’t win. I have had to battle my entire life to achieve accomplishments that any normal
person just takes for granted since it seems like they would just be normal god given rights. Arg, it is so frustrating! I’m starting to rant now so I’ll stop. But thanks for the responses!

I feel exactly where you are coming from as what you just wrote describes what happened to my brother and his mental health. Although he already was mentally slower this driving issue that he fantised about all the time made it worse. He worked like as a bag boy at the grocery store. But as he got into his mid 40's his sezuire got worse, to the point the family could not take care of him and he was put into assisted living facility for place with people with special needs but that can still do for themselves. It was the hardest decision ever made but turned out to be the best decision ever made for him. This was 2 years after his accident I described above.

Listen just take it day by day and try to just take the stress off and what will be will be is how I look at it. All you can do is take this daily. I wish you all the best and send hugs
 

Bella38

Honorable member
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
Posts
430
@dmp336. I so understand how you are feeling.. my husband is at his wits end because of this condition.. He has tried to work and every time he ends up having a seizure .. His seizures we are still working through what his triggers are.. I am learning to notice when he’s about to have one - his symptoms.. His face tells it all...
You may want to continue to fight disability . I know people who have to keep fighting and fighting for it but eventually will get it. One person I know he fought for 15yrs and he eventually go it and all that back paid. You’re right at some point how are you going to get around .. If you not allowed to drive etc.., your condition enables you to sustain normal living . get a lawyer. You can’t give up on that. And once you do get it you will get all that back paid from the time you originally filed. We haven’t tried to file for him as of yet but it’s a possibility.

We’ve had to learn all about this new life and what our new norm is .. I don’t know anyone who has epilepsy so we dont even have anyone that we could talk to.. I did ALOT of research to learn about his condition.. And it’s definitely frustrating trying to find answers ..

Anytime you need to talk just message me..
 

Violets

Lapsed Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Posts
289
I know someone who had a couple (in California, so CA license) and they put him on a suspended license for "medical", minimum 3 months. After the 3 months they were required to prove, by way of a doctor's 'sign off', that there had been no more seizures because the seizures were now under control. If this could not be provided (aka, a solution had not worked, like medication, etc., by that time) they would continue the suspension until he was able to provide such documentation. I guess it was a pain in the butt for him to run around .. having to go into the doctor, then the DMV, etc., but he got controlled by meds (Keppra) and is doing fine. The license was reinstated ASAP. That's my only experience with knowing anything about this situation. I know that it varies by state, obviously, as driving privileges are state regulated.

I hope everything is going well now and that the situation is better for you!
 

Name taken

Distinguished member
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
Posts
608
This varies greatly by state as others have pointed out. In some cases persons that are not symptomatic and have their symptoms controlled are eligible to drive. In other states there is mandatory reporting of any conditions that can cause loss of consciousness while driving.

I don’t have specific experience with seizures but with narcolepsy instead. And it is treated very similarly by department of motor vehicles. Every state has its own reporting requirements and rules and regulations. I know when I moved to the state I live in currently, I had to get a medical doctor to write that I was properly medicated, under control from my symptoms, and had not had any incidents for a certain interval of time. Then that had to get sent off to a special office in order for me to get a letter just to apply for a drivers license in the new state that I move to.

I totally understand the need for the regulations. There is no way I would drive if I was putting anyone at risk.

What is truly unfortunate is that in most parts of the United States, having a drivers license and a car is an absolute requirement to be able to get to work and the doctor and everywhere else. The public transportation infrastructure is really bad in a lot of areas, especially once you get outside a major metropolitan area. It’s especially difficult for people that don’t have family or a support structure of people that can help them out with transportation.
 
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