What are the liability issues of someone driving with Parkinson's disease?

Lotcw asked...

What are the liability issues of someone driving with Parkinson's Disease? If the individual gets in a wreck, is it better legally if the department of motor vehicles knows about the disease or not? Can their disease process be used against them in a court of law in relation to a car accident (regardless if it's there fault or not)?

Expert Answer

Laura Juel is an occupational therapist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. She works in the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Program and the Duke Driving Program for older drivers.

Department of Motor Vehicles reporting guidelines vary with each state. Most states require that you report any changes in your physical, visual or cognitive abilities. When a person or a health care professional reports to DMV,a Medical Review Committee evaluate a person's condition and ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. They may request medical records and/or a driving evaluation to help determine this. If you are able to keep your driving privleges, then this shows that you had gone through the appropriate testing measures and deemed safe. As with any medical condition, there are many variables that may impact driving ability; medications, lack of sleep, or infections. It is always the drivers responsibility to monitor themselves for safety behind the wheel. Driving research data does show some potentially negative effects of Parkinson's Disease and driving. Having the knowledge of these potential areas of concern and having good insight into your own condition is the best insurance policy for you and the driving public. Personal responsibility trumps all.