Driving Safety for People with Epilepsy

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by unusual neural activity leading to involuntary muscle spasms and sometimes loss of consciousness, known as an epileptic seizure. Seizures may be triggered by brain injury, low blood sugar, sodium, alcohol withdrawal, or stress. Sometimes seizures can occur unprovoked.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.2% of the U.S. population had active epilepsy in 2015. There are an estimated 54,900 cases of epilepsy in the state of Louisiana.

Can People with Epilepsy Legally Drive?

In general, people who have experienced an epileptic seizure are prohibited from driving unless a doctor confirms that doing so is safe. First-time driver’s license applicants in Louisiana who have a physical or mental disability are required to include a detailed medical report from a doctor explaining the nature and extent of the disability.

Persons who are diagnosed with epilepsy are not eligible for a commercial driver’s license. Applicants for a commercial driver’s license must include a medical report demonstrating that they do not have a physical or mental disability that would impair their ability to operate a commercial vehicle.

A person may be legally required to undergo a medical examination if the Department of Public Safety and Corrections has good cause to believe they have epilepsy.

Driving Safety & Epilepsy

Medication. If you can medically control your seizures, always remember to keep your medication nearby. If you forget to take your medicine, try to find an alternate way to travel. You can ask a friend, call a taxi, or use an Uber or Lyft to get home.

Health. The risk of seizure can increase from lack of sleep, nutrition, hydration, or sometimes from stress. Make sure you have had healthy amounts of food, water, and sleep.

Self-Awareness. Sometimes certain sensations or signs precede the onset of a seizure. Strange flashes of light, or seeing an “aurora” can indicate that a seizure is imminent. If you experience such sensations while driving, try to find a safe spot to stop your car as soon as possible.

Once stopped in a safe place, try to immobilize your car, so an involuntary movement does not accidentally cause your vehicle to accelerate. Shift the transmission into “park” and engage the parking brake if you can.

Consult a New Orleans Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice

If you have been in an accident that led to brain damage and recurring epileptic seizures, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your disability from those who recklessly caused your injury. At The Womac Law Firm, our clients can rely on our over 3 decades of experience litigating personal injury cases, and so can you.

To arrange a no-obligation initial consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, call us at (504) 470-3935 today!

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