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fenway

state laws and driving

I  had a grandmal seizure in New Hampshire.  My license is in Massachusetts.  I received a notice in the mail that NH wants me to attend a meeting to revoke my driving priveledges for a year.  Can they take away amy Massachusetts license?  My seizures are controls and this was the first time in four years.  ANy advice is appreciated. 

Comments

RE: state laws and driving

Do you live in NH or MA? 

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I live in MA.  That's what does not sense.  Can NH take a MA license?  I am hearing no.  THey may be able to stop me from driving in NH.

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There are 7 states in this country that have reporting laws regarding lapse of consciousness. I live in one of those states....California and have had 4 grand mal seizures in 22 years. I have a ten minute aura so I am able to be a safe driver. All my seizures have been reported by law to the department of motor vehicles. Usually they ask for a report from my neurologist, however, one time they just suspended my license without finding out anything about my particular situation. I had to hire a lawyer and ask the head of the epilepsy center to vouch that I was and am a safe driver.I suggest you get legal help. You need to find a lawyer who has experience with licenses being suspended for medical conditions. I think they could let NH know that they cannot tell you what to do in MA.

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Good point.  I found out that the most NH can do is suspend my right to drive in NH.  Then in a year, I can get my right to drive back. My seizures happen at night..... never during the day.  It has happened three time in 15 years, all at night.  It is just a pain because I have to take a full day off to prove I am not a danger. 

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> I found out that the most NH can do is suspend my right to drive in NH.Please check one other possibility...State motor vehicle departments can (and do) report some things to each other.  I don't know if this would fall under that category...Massachusetts has its own rules, of course.  When I lived there... which, sadly, was a decade ago... Massachusetts had a 6-month seizure-free requirement.  (I don't recall... and it may have changed anyway... whether doctors in Massachusetts are required to report to the DMV.)I went through two of those 6-month periods while I lived there.  Best wishes!  

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I can not drive in Massachusetts and NH may very well report to MA now in the age of computers.  I do not know how to check to see if NH reports seizures to MA.  My doctor does not report to the DMV.

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HelloI have been trying to find this site that tells you what states do what as far as revoking your license. I am in Illinois and had a seizure so my license was revoked for 6 months. However, I did searches on the secretary of states site , it did take some digging but I found a site that lists all the states and what the law is with driving after seizures.My doctor just assumed it was six months in ILlinois but as it turned out it is all determined by your doc, there is no specific time allotment. In Illlinois anyway. So anyway what I am trying to say is do some research into the laws of your state. People just automatically assume its 6 months to a year..Good Luck

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Hi,  I would suggest you go the web site epilepsy foundation of America.com. They have the rules of driving and seizures.

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try this link, on the Epilepsy.com site.http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/rights_driving.htmlI understand how you feel.  I couldn't drive for a while after I found out I have Epilepsy.

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hello, i have epilepsy after a seizure free period of roughly 2 to 3 months where i then get 3 or 4 seizures in the next few days. i am on antiepileptic medication but has not fully controled my epilepsy. i have an aura before eah seizure but can get seizures anytime of the day. is it possible to get a drivers license in the any of the states in america.(i.e ohio and illinois does not have any specific seizure free period (as read from http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/rights_driving.html) but will the doctor agree of me as being a safe driver as i can tell i have my fits coming).please if anyone has been in the same situation let me know if they have been able to get a license or denied especially in the above states. I do not live in america but UK so it is a little more difficult for me to investigate but would like to know as i may move someday. THANK YOU

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My license has been suspended by the DMV (I live in Virginia). According to their rules, I can't even consider getting my license back until I have been seizure-free for six months. However, I'm not sure that I would want to drive any way...considering I black out a lot. I don't want to put any one at risk!

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Im sure all you have to do is call them and see if they do. it mostly depends on the state. I have been seizure free for a long time. but when I moved from Colorado to Oregon and to retain my oregon license, i had to prove I was seizure free for at least 2 years. I would check to see what the laws are there where you live.

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ok do you know how long it takes to lose your lience for six months with mine being almost two months since i had my episode and still havent heard anything from the dmv and I am affraid to call them in fear they will take my lience. I was sleeping when i had my siezure and my girlfriend called 911 and the hospital said they had to notify the dmv and so did my doctor but how long till they actually take my lience away

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 Hi.I hope that this helps.It's the latest on this subject that I know of.If you have a patient with seizures that alter his or her awareness, consciousness, or muscle control, that patient may not have the legal right to drive. Each state has its own restrictions. If your patient has further questions please ask them to check with their local Department of Motor Vehicleshttp://professionals.epilepsy.com/page/doclib_driving.html 

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does anyone know if my illness will prevent me form getting a license?  I live in California.

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I hear that the driving laws are being looked at and suggest that you read this,then visit the site(The US National Transportation Safety Board )  mentioned that is looking at driving regulations to see what's going to happen in the future ?The apparent lack of a uniform process to identify, report, assess, license or counsel drivers with high-risk medical conditions amongst the US states was addressed at the meeting. The Board recommended that NHTSA and AAMVA develop a model programme for states to use to enable individuals with medical conditions to be licensed to the extent of their abilities.  http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/news/index.html 

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Hi again Ash!I live in California tooÂ… I've had my license pulled three times after seizures that took me to the hospital after causing a loss of consciousness. If memory serves me (Ha! What a joke, right?), CA doesn't automatically prohibit you from getting a license unless your MD or neuro knows of a seizure event that causes loss of consciousness. They are required to report it, then you might have your license pulled until you have been seizure-free for 6 months.~GSN~

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hi i live in iowa i had my first seizure in 9yrs i went to emergency room so it was reported to theDMV my D.R said i could not drive for 6 months it has been 8 weeks since my seizure and iam stressed to the max checking my mail box everyday worrying night and day waiting for the shoe to fall

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I am in TX but I have mine only when I am asleep. H

RE: state laws and driving

Hi fenway,I live in New Jersey and I had my license revoked for a year. It is imperative that you first check on the main epilepsy foundation site for a state by state rule and DEFINITELY contact your doctor. It can be detrimental to not only yourself but also others if something happens. Granted it was a big inconvenience not driving and having to fill out paperwork to the DMV but in the end it was worht it for your safety and also others.I wish you the best. laurie44

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I live in Florida, and had my first isolated partial seizures in February. Florida is one of the states that can do whatever they want as far as discretion, and if you've been seizure-free for 6 months, you get reinstatement (and I've been driving again almost a month) if on Rx, and if not on Rx, two years. I've downloaded some info on Internet by searching for State DMV breakdowns, and you can probably do the same. Good luck. @ this point, doctors aren't "sure" what and how my heterotopia is being affected. Guess I'll know next year when I go have second MRI.

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Driving is one of those things that is easy to take for granted until the priviledge is take away.  In my situation, the fire department and the EMT's were  involved  and in this day and age  of computers it is easy for the left hand to correspond with the right hand.  As it looks now, I will  be biding my time for a year before I can drive in NH.  I live in MA so it is really not a problem.  THanks for your input and best of luck.

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I lost my right to drive in NH for a year.  They report to MA.  I must get my right to drive back in MA first then  file doctors report etc in NH, go to a hearing, then pay a $100.00 fine. :(    ( Now where is my bus pass?)

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Fenway,You lost me, why do you have to pay fine?

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fenwayI am still unclear on how you got reported to NH.  Who reported you to the DMV?  Did something happen while you where in NH, or do you have a doctor in NH or what? what exactly happened?  I am just trying to understand what happened.  If I know a little more about it I can help a little more.  Can you fill in the blanks?

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boy this upsets me. she has to pay to get her drivers lic back? someone had to get a lawyer. not right!!! maybe they should let us make the choice to drive, we know more about our body and condition more than they do. there are many people (elders) that drive that have had heart attacks and such (i could name a bunch) and they drive. hello, i understand it is unsafe if they are not uncontrol. laws are crazy.    

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This is the page that list each state.http://communities.epilepsy.com/epilepsy_communityI'm 36 years old and never driven. I've had epilepsy since at least the third grade. Texas has it set at 6 months as far as the law. They would like you to wait one year. I've never made it a full one year without having a seizure. For my own protection I won't put myself behind a stearing wheel. I don't know what I would do if I were to cause an accident knowing I could have prevented it.

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I know this message is late - but I did  lose my license in NH due to a seizure, but live and licensed in Masss.  I was told to clear it up as quickly as possible because mass and nh exchange records - this also applies to speeding tickets, dwi, etc etc - and you will lose it eventually until you get it reinstated by NH. I hope that didn't happen to you.    I was able to get my license back in 3 months.

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Thanks for the heads up.  I was afraid of that the states communicated with each other.  What did you do in order to get back your driving priviledges in NH.  I certainly do not want to loose my license in MA..  I would be devistated.

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You need to go on the NH DMV website and they will instruct you on how to reinstate your license when lost for medical reasons.  You will see a person (forget their title) that acts similar to a judge, but is not actually one.  They will review your case, and speak to you about your condition.  A letter from your neurologist saying that you are on meds for XX months and have had no other seizures, is very important.  My person used the AMA book on recommendations to make his decision - which was 3 months on meds, seizure free , you should be safe to drive - and reinstated it immediately as my 3 months had passed by the time I got the appt.  He did remind me, very strongly, that if I should get into an accident due to a seizure, and found not to be on my meds, I would be liable - so stay on your meds.  It cost me $100 - I was told to get a lawyer which I did, and it cost me another $800 - don't know if tha was necessary - he really did nothing for me, the guy just followed medical guidelines.

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I have contacted them on their website for further info.  Thanks. 

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I contacted the NH for a safety hearing and this is one of the criteria.e. Evidence the person has been symptom-free, for a minimum of 12 months, of the medical condition which lead to the existing license or driving privilege suspension.Is there a way to get around this?  It  is only been 6 months.  What should I do now. 

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Wow, that's not how it went for me at all.  I was retinstated after 3 months after my accident, and I did lose consciousness behind the wheel.  maybe they changed the laws, but I only went thru this 1 1/1 years ago.

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I'm sorry, this really isn't a reply to your message but I was wondering if any of you guys could give me some advice. I have my seizures either when I'm sleeping or right when I wake up. Could this be grounds to contest to get my license without going through all of the hoops that the DMV puts up for us.

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This is a reply to the question submitted by Rhosgirl. I'm new to this site,but my liscense was suspended in January due to a seizure that I experienced when driving back in August. Depending on the state you live in, IF you experience a seizure, or are suspected of experiencing a seizure while driving, your liscense can be revoked. You can contest to get your liscense back, but most likely you will have to go through the hoops. That's how the game is played (unfortunately). I had an MVA in August and I fell asleep behind the wheel (I drove 10 hours non-stop after working a 12 hour nursing shift and did not go to sleep. Don't do this). I too, have my seizures when I'm asleep or about to fall asleep.  I wear a Medic Alert Bracelet and the good samaritan who stopped to assist me saw it and  informed the Florida Highway Partrolman of my disorder. Sure enough, my liscense was revoked (not suspended, REVOKED) for 6 months.  I chose NOT to contest it simply because I didn't want to go through the hoops that you're concerned about. I chose to get re-evaluated by a different Neurologist who, after a thorough assessment, deemed me fit to drive. It is now in the hands of the Florida State Medical Board.  I say all of of that to say this: You can prevent what happened to me if you just use common sense (unlike I did) and not drive when you know you're most vulnerable to have seizures.

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Yes I have read in an USA Epilepsy Magazine that if you have nocturnal seizures you can get a license. But you will have to get your consent with your doctor, and the DMV,Best of luckLisahttp://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/EpilepsyApproach/

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how long did it take you to get your letter from the dmv revolking your lience it has been almost 8 weeks and i still havent heard nothing. do they start the the 6 mos when they finally send you your letter? by the way mine happens  when iam sleeping and i live in iowa so i know the know the rules are a little diffrent but if someone reads please let me know thank you  

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I think you've gotten your answers. I live in Mississippi, which prohibits anyone from driving until they have been seizure-free for a year. Neighboring Louisiana where I see my neuro is like that, too. But both prohibitions are self-policing. In other words, my license has not been revoked. I was told the restriction by my doctor and it is up to me not to drive. Certainly, while I was having seizures, I wouldn't have thought of doing that. I never knew when a grand mal would hit me. Now, my seizures have slowed, but I am transitioning to a new med (Trileptal, coming off Dilantin). Some days I don't feel I could drive safely anyway. I am law abiding citizen anyway, so I couldn't in good conscience drive, and I am afraid if I did, if something did happen, my fault or not, just a little research would be put me in big liability. I hope your situation resolves itself soon, to your satisfaction. If all goes well for me, I'll be driving again, legally, in October.

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Fenway - I hate to say that New Hampshire CAN suspend you right to drive in New Hampsire, but they also have the right to notify Massachuetts in regard to your seizure. - Erik

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They can't take your D.L. from you... They can contact officials in MA about your driving with the conditions you have. I live in Dallas , Tx. , state law says no driving until you have your seizures under control...

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Where I come from which is Ontario, Canada...they suspend your Driver's Licence under the grounds of medical suspension...I'm not sure about the code of law that it's under...but all Doctors are obligated to report any persons that have a medical condition that renders them unsafe to drive.  I recieved such a letter from the Ontario's Motor Vehicle Licencing Commision to surrender my licence to them under this code in the law.  In Ontario, any persons with a medical condition that causes them to be unsafe behind the wheel, whether it be, epilespy, diabetes, heart condition for example fall into this catigory.  I now live in Denmark and here the law states 6 months but my neuroligist here says 1 yr for me, which I don't consider a big deal because it has been almost 14 yrs now that I haven't been able to get my driver's licence back.  I have adjusted to not driving, which wasn't easy for the first few years.  I had a car (chev scooter) that I loved and crashed in a seizure. Saw it go to the junk yard and made peace with it.  Learning to live with having a seizure disorder has taken me a good  10 yrs and I do at times stuggle with it, just like all of you do....I get angry and have my feeling sorry for myself moments....but I think who doesn't?  We all have things we stuggle with...for me it's Epilespy, for others it's something else.  I have seen friends die of Cancer, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease to name a few and I look at my life and am thankful that if I am to have a disorder (syndrom,disorder,disease) whichever is politically correct at the moment) I have something that can be managed with medications available, surgeries, biofeedback therapy to learn stress management, education that is out there like here to learn about the disorder we have to live with.  To know what can trigger a seizure has help me alot!!!I have been through alot with epilepsy and don't like to speak about it to often except in a safe place which I feel may be here (sometimes) but to give you some background about myself...I have what is called technically Mesial Temprol Lobe Epilepsy.  I have been in the The Epilepsy Unit at London Health Sciences Centre and had the scalp EEG/video monitoring, the MRI's showed bilateral hippocampal atrophy and I have 3 types of seizures, complex partial seizures, tonic clonic, and, absence seizures.  Surgery was an option for me in the left lobe but I opted to continue with med's and take pyshotherapy which helped me immensly.  I'm not as angry or as scared as I use to be to go out in public or tell people about my condition.  I don't see Epilsepy anymore as a curse, barrier to what I can do.  I have limitations but being aware of them makes me ahead of the game.  I don't say I can't anymore...I say I'll try!!!.  I was almost 22 yrs old when I had my first tonic clonic, and with looking back over medical records we can actually pin point me to having absence and complex partial at the age of 13 yrs old.  I always thought I was an underachiever in school, labelled as one who didn't try or pay attention so I lived up to that label.  I don't like labels of any kind ( it's just mental thing I have about them)  I think they lessen us as people to label ourselves.  I am ME..take me or leave me is my saying!!!  I try to keep up on information out there about Epilespy but I refuse to make it the whole centre of my life.  If I did it would control me like it did for the first few yrs...slowly I worked my way out of that thinking and am so glad I did.  My quality of life has taken on a whole new meaning since doing so.  The freedom it gave it to just go out there and do my thing, not really caring if I have a seizure has been beyond words to express.  I wear a Medic Alert and have confidence in the general public who have helped me before during a seizure that I'll be OK.  People were nicer than I gave them credit for when I started having seizures..Live Life!!! It's out there for you...I wish everyone with epilespy to feel safe to go out and live...learn something, like computers, gardening, read alot of books, work if you can ( I know some can't due to having it so bad that you can not) ( I didn't work for 8 yrs due to epilepsy) take a craft up, take joy in your family and friends...BE YOU!!!Sincerely,Deborah Marie

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Deborah Marie,THANK YOU!  I needed to hear your words right now, what an inspiration.Smiles to you!Dayna 

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here's an impossible situation. i live in calif and have nocturnal only szs every couple of months. since they're nocturnal and since i bike 99% (rather than drive), local neuro's been very cool about not reporting me. we get along well.just got my state of calif driver's automatic license renewal letter. all i have to do is fill out a couple of questions, write a check, mail it back and voila! i have a new license. there's just one big prob. one of those questions is "have you had any szs or loss of consciousness?" if i say yes, it will cause a lot of probs and i may very well lose my license. if i simply don't answer the question, i'll get my new license.say yes and enclose a letter from my neuro? that puts him in a difficult position legally if i have any probs (if he'll even do it which i doubt).anyone else been down this road? maybe i should just not renew or something and bypass the problem. uggh. i do need to drive sometimes to do repair work or help when we take trips. my partner tho is 100% by the book which means there's no chance in a million years that she'll be in the same car if i am driving.

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West Coast,I understand completely.  I am in the same situation, my license  expires in november.  I get those 5 year license renewals in the mail too.  Heck I had to say I lost my wallet just so I could get a new picture.  I am in California too, and  my Docs haven't reported me either.