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

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 28, 2016
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 Answers

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.

Community Answers

Lotcw answered...

thank you so much for your input on this matter

Sassandahalf answered...

I went through this with my father. In Illinois, if you go to renew your license before your 80th birthday, and pass the tests, they give you a 4 year license, after that birthday it is one year at a time. Of course the seniors all know to go early! My father has PD, could barely feel his feet, had horrible reaction time, and we presented a list of medications to the DMV. They passed him!!! I didn't take his keys away, and hounded him about killing children, mothers, fathers, etc. He stopped driving completely around age 81. I wondered what my responsibility was, knowing his limitations, but the state let him drive. I'm glad I didn't have to find out with him, but my mother has wet macular degeneration, but eye Dr. sent a report to DMV that she didn'y have to take the test on their machine, and she passed the road test (telling me that the examiner gasped a lot!). She got 4 years, and can't see any of the controls in the car!