Can I Still Drive After I Have Been Diagnosed with Parkinson’s?

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, alone, does not automatically disqualify someone from driving.

However, there may come a point when the progression of the disease, combined with the effects of medication, makes it unsafe for a person to continue driving.  Driving requires acute muscular reflexes and mental concentration, in addition to good vision and sound judgment.  PD can impair any or all of these areas.

Tell tale signs of deteriorating driving skills include:  traffic tickets for careless infractions, small dents and dings on the car from hitting posts while pulling in and out of parking spaces, tire damage from hitting the curb, getting lost frequently, and family members criticizing the driving.

If a person’s impairments are patently obvious to a physician, the physician may report the person to DMV. The DMV may then require the person to pass a driving test and possibly get a statement from another physician certifying that the person is no longer impaired to the point that they are unsafe to drive.

Even if a Parkinsonian has not progressed to the point that he or she is a danger on the road, be aware that the fact that the person has PD may be used (unfairly) against the Parkinsonian if there is an accident and there is a question as to which driver was at fault.  My advice to all of my clients is that they maintain insurance limits of $300,000 or more.  For those with a diagnosis of PD, I would recommend increasing the limits even more and pay attention for those tell tale signs that it is time to stop driving.

About Editor