There are a variety of reasons why medical physicians tell their patients not to drive. Since, driving requires 100 percent focus, it’s very important that these instructions are followed. Doctors will suggest drivers to stay clear of the roads if they have any condition(s) that will hamper their driving skills. This can include anything from the use of prescription or non-prescription drugs, epilepsy, vision problems, and other impairments.
Examples of Dangerous Driving Situations
Doctors will recommend their patients not drive if they are using certain medications that are known to cause drowsiness. Pain relievers and medication like Vicodin or OxyConton are extremely effective in relieving pain, however they are known to cause a delayed response. If a driver ‘s reaction time is delayed by even a few seconds, there can be serious consequences.
Doctors may also advise drivers to avoid driving if they have arthritis. Arthritis is known to make an individual’s joints feel stiff and swollen. This often makes even the smallest movement a difficult task. If somebody has arthritis, they may find it difficult to drive safely because they are physically fragile. For example, a younger driver can easily hold a steering wheel, without even thinking about wrapping their fingers around the steering wheel; it just comes naturally. However, older individuals may feel limited in terms of their driving ability because they have a more difficult time adjusting to certain driving tasks because of their fragile state.
In addition to arthritis, senior citizens are also advised to be extra-caution behind the wheel. While some individuals may feel that senior citizens are being targeted or discriminated against due to their old age, the fact of the matter is their driving skills become compromised as they age. Senior citizens often drive with caution, but a little too much caution. This can include driving way under the posted speed limit, which is also a traffic infraction. While it is not a crime to drive if you are an older individual, doctors may advise some senior drivers to spend less time behind the wheel, especially if they have certain diseases or impairments that would interfere with driving.
If you have Epilepsy, your doctor may advise you to be cautious behind the wheel, as well. That’s because Epilepsy causes uncontrollable seizures that can alter an individual’s state. These seizures can also cause the driver to fall asleep, while they are driving.
For this very reason, each state has crafted separate legislation dictating whether or not patients with Epilepsy can drive. Most states require an individual to be free of any seizures for at least six month’s or another designated time frame, before they can obtain their license. Usually their respective doctor will also have to provide written documentation that their patient’s seizures are at a controllable state, so as not to be a threat to anyone’s safety.
The six states that require doctors to report any patients that have seizures to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, and Nevada. There has been some criticism about these laws. Some feel there should be more safety measures in place to protect not only the driver, but also other drivers.