How does Parkinson’s disease affect driving?
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APDA. MJ Fox, NPF, and www.awareincare.org all have great resources and wallet cards for you to use to prove you have PD. Please put this information with your wallet or purse. Also APDA has a great free kit to carry to the Hospital with Parkinson’s information and all your needs are stated in it is a really good idea. I love mine. Pls keep it in your car, it is free. Again in the kits is a wallet card for you to give along with your licenses and a free ID bracelet informing folks you have Parkinson’s. In addition, there are med forms and booklets to help you understand emergency needs. Please get one. You may want to ask your doctor of a handicap parking tag to help with parking. Having this also helps with the police to see your handicap.

Be prepared

I have written about this issue several times, and yes it is frustrating, hard but we have got to be calm and prepared. Please get your doctors to write you a note on their letterheads stating you have Parkinson’s, also a list of meds you’re on and to be sure to tell right off the bat to the police or fire folks that you’re a Parkinson’s person and that you have the proper legal information with you. That they can please take the time “slow down” for you to get it to them. If you get a hard time ask for the officer’s captain or boss. Most time the senior officer will be very kind and helpful.

Your ADA rights are to be applied here and you have rights to not be violated. Be kind and ask for help and not be mistreated. If you state you’re getting sick and becoming very upset and it is your PD, ask for EMS or the Fire department help. Tell them you have Parkinson’s. If any police or EMS upset you get their boss there also. Cell phones today are wonderful. Use it to record and take photos of the folks mishandling you. All useable in court of law. Yes, you’re upset shaking but know that you have rights and that you can not help it with the tremors, or speech are all acting up bc of the stress and what is going on you want help. Majority of the time fire or EMS will be helpful and explain to the cops to back off. Also having the right information and documents help. Know your rights and in court, be kind understanding to the judge but tell the judge right off the bat you have Parkinson’s. Please bring all the stated doctors notes, med list and any letters stating your PD needs, get an ADA lawyer to help you.

Know your limits

I have spoken on this issue often. I have to say many in the emergency business are clueless of our needs but having the proper information they all agree helps. You may also want to go by your local police and fire/ems departments and introduce yourself, talk to them about your Parkinson’s and your needs. That way if they need to come to your home they are informed. They all really like this and will thank you. It is very Helpful. I wish all fellow PD folks the best and a big hug. So sorry this happens to many of us. Some cops need to slow down ask the right questions and think.

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 privileges, 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.

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