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Disability and Driving


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#1 SleepyMeg

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 12:45 AM

Does anyone know if getting approved for disability has any impact on keeping a drivers license? Since they're both government related, I'm wondering if being approved for disability could result in a revoked license.

Thank you,
Meg

#2 sdsmith

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:06 PM

Hi Meg,

I asked myself the same question. My SSDI claim was pending when my license came up for renewal. I decided I would tell my DMV that I had narcolepsy; they required my doctor to complete a form indicating that I was safe to drive. At first, the doctor felt that this statement was inconsistent with my disability claim. I had anticipated this and had written a letter explaining why I should be allowed to keep my license. I'm sure that letter went in my file. I wrote that every person who has a license is at times not fit to drive and must exercise their good judgment in deciding whether to get behind the wheel. Granted, I am unfit to drive more often than the average person, and am more limited in how long or how many miles I can drive in one stretch, but in exercising my best judgment, I am able to be a safe driver whenever I do drive. I also pointed out that I do not have to drive at any particular time (as working people must), that I take a nap before I drive and if I'll be out for long I make sure I have the time and a place to nap before I make the return trip.

A minority of PWN have symptoms too severe or not sufficiently controlled to be safe on the road. Assuming you are not in this category and can make the case that I did in all truthfulness, keeping your driver's license should not impair your disability claim.

BTW, it's been over 15 years since this discussion with my doctor and I have not had one accident. The only clue that I'm a driver with N is the unusually low mileage on my car.

Hope this helps!

Sharon


#3 SleepyMeg

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:04 PM

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for the nice response. I sincerely appreciate you sharing your experiences with me on this topic. The letter sounds like a great idea and is definitely something I'll consider.

Thanks for your help,
Meg

#4 Hope & Faith

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 12:22 AM

Sorry, but have to disagree. It takes less than 1 sec. for an accident to happen and if I ever hurt anyone I would wonder for the rest of my life if the narcolepsy was in any way responsible. Did it cause me to be 1 sec. too slow in my reaction. If someone were killed I would never forgive myself. I don't drive drunk. I don't take pain medication and drive. I hate it, but I just don't drive. Getting behind the wheel of a car knowing you are more susceptible than most to a temporary attack or seizure or passing out is nothing short of irresponsible and dangerous to yourself and others. Every single article tells you not to drive - and it's for a very good reason!

#5 malachi777

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 10:15 AM

(Hope & Faith)
Sorry, but have to disagree. It takes less than 1 sec. for an accident to happen and if I ever hurt anyone I would wonder for the rest of my life if the narcolepsy was in any way responsible. Did it cause me to be 1 sec. too slow in my reaction. If someone were killed I would never forgive myself. I don't drive drunk. I don't take pain medication and drive. I hate it, but I just don't drive. Getting behind the wheel of a car knowing you are more susceptible than most to a temporary attack or seizure or passing out is nothing short of irresponsible and dangerous to yourself and others. Every single article tells you not to drive - and it's for a very good reason!


There are literally millions of Americans who suffer with some kind of medical issue that can cause accidents. There are thousands of accidents caused every year just from sneezing so says the DOT. Anyone with low blood sugar, diabetes, high blood pressure etc... I feel that the government has no right to step in as far as revoking a license unless an accident has occured.

The issue is not narcolepsy, the issue is being responsible. I have been driving for 17 years, have not had any accidents and no tickets. I have had narcolepsy without cataplexy for 8 years and do not get sleepy behind the wheel. If I felt it was unsafe for me to drive, I simply will stay home.

I have seen posts where a few people blame narcolepsy for their accident while the true cause could be the lack of proper driver training or just not paying attention.

I am sure there are many sufferers with extremely severe narcolepsy with cataplexy and they should not be driving.

Let me reiterate, most accidents are caused by not paying attention, excessive speed and other medical conditions, not by narcolepsy.

If you agree, please comment.... Malachi

#6 SleepyMeg

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 12:28 PM

I would definitely have to agree with this. No matter the personal challenge, I feel everything comes down to personal responsibility. I get so tired of people placing blame on this and that. Above all else, it comes down to taking responsibility for your own actions.

I've had narcolepsy for all of my adult life, so I've learned to easily recognize when I'm unable to drive. I know my body and limitations better than any one person or group, so I feel it is up to me to make wise decisions.

Thank you, all, for sharing your comments on this topic. I appreciate your replys and thoughts on the subject.

Best,
Megan

#7 Wink

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 11:51 AM

Hi Meg--I haven't checked this Forum in awhile, & while scanning thru after the new & improved Makeover, I noticed your question & answers. Luckily, we have on our side the continued inability of our government agencies to correlate info with each other. If you take into account that the Social Security disability system's priority is denying benefits & they are out to prove that you are NOT disabled & are able to work, bringing up the driving issue would be shooting themselves in the foot.
It's amazing that in this 21st century of computers, etc., our government has not greatly improved in sharing data. Almost the same conditions exist now that caused 9-11 information glitches between FBI, CIA, Interpol, etc, etc, the inability to find missing children in this country and identify child predators before they are hired in jobs involving children. Big brother is not here yet, & I wouldn't sweat that he's coming anytime soon.

Also--Social Security Disability is now using videoteleconferencing or is it televideoconferencing? for its appeal cases. I am waiting for an appeal & waiting time is presently ONE YEAR. Let's see if this new system speeds anything up. wink.gif Wink wink.gif

#8 Toph4er

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 10:12 PM

Two days ago (I think) a friend of mine got rear ended by a person driving with cerebral palsy. The guy had only been driving two weeks too since it took a long time for him to get registered and modify a car to drive with the steering wheel, but still. On one hand I think, they let people with severe mental handicaps drive and not us??? But on the other hand, I don't want to be in his situation myself. (The accident was hardly anything, a dent, that's all. He just didn't have the reaction time to adapt to the swerving cars. But, I think reaction times should be a part of every driving test, such as those at www.cognitivelabs.com. I love that site! It's put out by Stanford University I believe and they use it to gather statistics. My reactions are around .250 seconds which is quite fast.)


I still want to drive so bad. I'm a 19 yr old senior at my high school and to add not being able to drive atop that sucks!
Chris"Toph4er"

#9 desertpond57

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 12:31 PM

QUOTE (Toph4er @ Apr 10 2008, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Two days ago (I think) a friend of mine got rear ended by a person driving with cerebral palsy. The guy had only been driving two weeks too since it took a long time for him to get registered and modify a car to drive with the steering wheel, but still. On one hand I think, they let people with severe mental handicaps drive and not us??? But on the other hand, I don't want to be in his situation myself. (The accident was hardly anything, a dent, that's all. He just didn't have the reaction time to adapt to the swerving cars. But, I think reaction times should be a part of every driving test, such as those at www.cognitivelabs.com. I love that site! It's put out by Stanford University I believe and they use it to gather statistics. My reactions are around .250 seconds which is quite fast.)


I still want to drive so bad. I'm a 19 yr old senior at my high school and to add not being able to drive atop that sucks!
Chris"Toph4er"


I'm new to this and very thankful for this support connection to others who have stories to tell that no one else really gets but us. Back to the subject at hand, all it took was just a few seconds to realize my driving days should be over. I pulled up to a stop sign, remember stopping and the next thing I know I'm driving up the exit ramp on the freeway. All it took was a minute or so to get there and I can't remember if the light turned green or anything until that point. I could have killed someone or caused an accident, but I was lucky that day, no one was coming and I had time to turn around. After years of driving its hard for me to close this chapter in my life because I know what I'm missing. I too was able to cope my whole life until an incident on the job pushed my emotional stress level to the point where I now experience automatic behavior. Now I have a lot of decisions to make.
Suzanne "desertpond57"

#10 jlossrn

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 07:58 PM

All of us have some sort of driving nightmare to one extent or another. I too was at a light. Except it was green and I was waiting for it to change to Green even though it was already Green. The rest of the drive home was just as bad and the kicker was when I looked right and saw the traffic coming and looked left and saw the traffic coming and then proceeded to pull out. To this day, I don't know how an accident didn't happen. That was my induction to narcolepsy. Since then, I have learned what I can and can't do. I know my limitations. I choose not to drive because of what happened. I still have my license and have driven around the block. No long distance or even remotely longer than a few minutes. I have to focus on staying alert when I do drive. I agree that it is each persons responsability to decide if they are capable enough to drive or not. It would be very easy for me to let fear dictate my driving or not driving because of a near accident when my narcolepsy reared it's ugly head. But I will not allow Narcolepsy to take any more control of my life than it already has. We are still human and we can make our own responsible choices. How many fools go out and have one drink or more, and think it's ok to drive? I would say, more than there are narcoleptics who drive with a sense of care and caution. Thats all for me. Wish me luck.... My SS hearing before the judge is in 2 weeks. "it is better to be wise and act a fool, than it is to be a fool who acts wise". Smile everyone. smile.gif

#11 Mike M

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (jlossrn @ Oct 17 2008, 07:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wish me luck.... My SS hearing before the judge is in 2 weeks.


Good luck! I sincerely hope that your hearing goes well. You will be in my thoughts and those of many others. Hang in there!

#12 omllylisa

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 11:06 AM

The fear of losing my license is the very reason I haven't even attempted to file for disability, even though everyone keeps telling me that I should. Especially since I lost my job. The thing is that I live in a town that does not have any public transportation. No taxis, no buses. I've had N long enough that I know when I can drive and when I can't. I rarely drive anything further than 15 minutes away. When I do, I pull over often to take short breaks. I can usually feel an attack coming on, I don't lose control suddenly out of nowhere. I have had one accident, however, I was 100% alert at the time and I was not at fault.

My dilema is that it is looking more and more like I really need to apply for disability or I'm going to end up homeless. I have 2 children to take care of. I'm also essentially a single parent as my husband is a truck driver and gone all week. I need my car, I need my license...but I need money to survive, too.

I don't know what to do. Also, how hard is it for someone with Narcolepsy to get disability anyway?

Any help would be great!

#13 jlossrn

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:34 PM

Just wanted to let those who were wondering. My SS got approved. I'm relieved but also feel like a failure. I hate living this way. O'well, perhaps 2009 will be a better year than 07 or 08.



#14 drago

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 10:17 AM

QUOTE (SleepyMeg @ Nov 20 2007, 06:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone know if getting approved for disability has any impact on keeping a drivers license? Since they're both government related, I'm wondering if being approved for disability could result in a revoked license.

Thank you,
Meg



Think of it this way:
Someone who has a broken leg (or two broken legs) cannot drive their car for a while, until they are healed and can use their legs again. If their broken leg(s) get them fired, they can apply for disability, right? However, their liscence wouldn't be revoked, would it? After all, their ability to drive would return as soon as they were healthy again.

So, if you are dx with narcolepsy, you probably cut back on your driving. Then, the doctor might assess you and help you get an idea if you can drive again with the proper treatment. If so, why revoke your lisense? That doesn't make sense. The narcolepsy is kept under control, so why not allow the person to drive?

When I found out about the narcolepsy, I had had a total of 4 sleep attacks in my life, all from passive/sedintary jobs at my work. I had never had a problem driving, or even doing something physical. However, I cut back on my driving and even biking - short distances, only when necessary, etc. Just in case...

drago

#15 jenji

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 12:25 PM

perhaps it's a literal terminology thing:

Narcolepsy means: sleep seizure.

Greek: narke stupor/sleep, lepsis seizure.

So, perhaps it is literally considered to be as unpredictable as epilepsy in that sometimes even despite medications the brain can "trip" and cause symptoms that make driving an automobile dangerous. I'm pretty sure that epileptics are not permitted to drive at all, meds or not.

Anyway, maybe that's the reason. I dunno.

jenji

#16 Wink

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 11:42 PM



QUOTE (jenji @ Jan 26 2009, 05:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
perhaps it's a literal terminology thing:

Narcolepsy means: sleep seizure.

Greek: narke stupor/sleep, lepsis seizure.

So, perhaps it is literally considered to be as unpredictable as epilepsy in that sometimes even despite medications the brain can "trip" and cause symptoms that make driving an automobile dangerous. I'm pretty sure that epileptics are not permitted to drive at all, meds or not.

Anyway, maybe that's the reason. I dunno.

jenji


In New York State, people with seizure disorders are permitted to drive medicated with a doctor's note to Motor Vehicles.
Allowing someone with decreased reaction times to drive is really ridiculous and carrying political correctness for people with disabilities or "challenged" way too far.
Wink





#17 idontknow

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 08:55 AM

QUOTE (Toph4er @ Apr 10 2008, 10:12 PM) Two days ago (I think) a friend of mine got rear ended by a person driving with cerebral palsy. The guy had only been driving two weeks too since it took a long time for him to get registered and modify a car to drive with the steering wheel, but still. On one hand I think, they let people with severe mental handicaps drive and not us??? But on the other hand, I don't want to be in his situation myself. (The accident was hardly anything, a dent, that's all. He just didn't have the reaction time to adapt to the swerving cars. But, I think reaction times should be a part of every driving test, such as those at www.cognitivelabs.com. I love that site! It's put out by Stanford University I believe and they use it to gather statistics. My reactions are around .250 seconds which is quite fast.)


I still want to drive so bad. I'm a 19 yr old senior at my high school and to add not being able to drive atop that sucks!
Chris"Toph4er"

I'm new to this and very thankful for this support connection to others who have stories to tell that no one else really gets but us. Back to the subject at hand, all it took was just a few seconds to realize my driving days should be over. I pulled up to a stop sign, remember stopping and the next thing I know I'm driving up the exit ramp on the freeway. All it took was a minute or so to get there and I can't remember if the light turned green or anything until that point. I could have killed someone or caused an accident, but I was lucky that day, no one was coming and I had time to turn around. After years of driving its hard for me to close this chapter in my life because I know what I'm missing. I too was able to cope my whole life until an incident on the job pushed my emotional stress level to the point where I now experience automatic behavior. Now I have a lot of decisions to make.
Suzanne "desertpond57"



What does automatic behavior mean? Please help.

#18 drago

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:05 PM

Automatic behavior, from what I understand, is when you do a set of actions without full facility - meaning, you're moving, interacting with objects and even other people, but you're on "auto piolot," so to speak. You do not remember all the actions, or the events that take place during this time.

On some level, I'm sure all humans have had an experience similar to automatic behavior, if you can't classify it technically as automatic behavior. For example, almost everyone I know has forgotten if they locked their door, locked their car, turned off the lights, etc. at one point or another - most probably because they do these actions all the time in repetition, and they sort of "drifted" through it.

On the tv show Friends, there is an episode where Rachel's mother asks, "Have you ever been on the highway before your exit, and suddenly you're home, not remembering that you even took the exit?" I'm not sure if that kind of case qualifies as automatic behavior in the technical sense or not...

However, automatic behavior on a larger scale might include non-repetitious actions. And, I read a few posts/stories about people who were very frightened when they came out of it - because they were alone and out at the time, and they don't remember anything--and they worry that the date rape drug or something similar has happened.


As per this thread, I found this:
http://www.disabilit...rg/DRIVING.html


drago

#19 SureSleepsalot

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 08:14 PM

Posted Image What people fail to realize, is that, The Govt has us all duped into believing that you have to have a license to drive in the 1st place...(when in reality) YOU DON'T!

"Operating a motor vehicle" is a fundamentally LAWFUL ACTIVITY... (as long as your not getting PAID) Period. Point blank. End of discussion... I know you all don't believe me, (or to those of you who don't) just know that it isn't b/c I am wrong about this; but, b/c you are a mindless drone that hasn't investigated the topic... (don't worry, its not your fault)(its the flouride they put in our food, combined with the "Public Fool System") and our indoctrination as children...

www.fmotl.com ---The truth is out there... Seek and you shall find... (take the red pill) -wink-


and as far as the whole "Its irresponsible" yeah... I agree... BUT! ...so is smoking, so is littering, so is not recycling, so is leaving your cat in the microwave when you go on vacation... and we do these things all the time!!! lol. So I don't see what the big deal is...?? oh, yeah, the whole "You could kill sombody" thing... ????? Posted Image