Can you lose your driving privileges in New York State due to a medical condition? Recently, in Buffalo, a bicyclist was killed and two others injured when a driver suffered a medical emergency. While the news stories did not explain what the medical issue was, I started thinking about whether people with a history of medical problems or a newly diagnosed issue should be able to keep their driver's licenses.

We've seen stories in the past of people having seizures, heart attacks, or other health issues that have caused them to crash their vehicles. And what about elderly people whose faculties may not be what they used to or are having motor skills or vision challenges. Should they still be allowed to drive?

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Should People With Medical Conditions Be Legally Allowed To Drive?

It's a tough debate. On one hand, even if or especially because a person has a medical condition, they may not want to give up the independence that comes with driving. They may have doctor's appointments to attend, need to pick up prescriptions and do regular tasks like shopping. On the flip side though, should everyone else be put at risk?

The real question is, what does New York State allow? There are rules on whether a person with a medical condition can be allowed to drive. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles answers the query.

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Can DMV suspend my driver license due to a medical condition?

Yes. If a physician reports that you have a medical condition that affects your driving skills, DMV can suspend your driver license. The suspension remains in effect until a physician certifies that the condition is treated or controlled and does not affect your driving skills. DMV can also require that the physician recertify at a later time that the condition is controlled and not dangerous. If DMV does not receive the required certification, DMV can suspend your driver license. This type of suspension is called 'Administrative Review'.

Once an administrative review has been placed on your license, it will remain in place until DMV staff and the DMV's medical consultant from the New York Department of Health tell you it can be terminated. The DMVs medical review team may determine that a license should be suspended if a driver's medical condition,

may cause loss of consciousness, loss of awareness or loss of body control.

If a driver causes an accident and a police officer reports that it is due to a medical condition, the DMV’s Medical Review Unit will be notified and the accident will be reviewed.

If DMV receives a police accident report indicating one of these conditions other than loss of consciousness caused an accident, you may be asked to provide medical documentation. If you do not provide the documentation, your driver license can be suspended until you comply. You may also need to go to an evaluation interview or take an eye, written, or road test. If you do not pass these tests, your driver license can be suspended or revoked.

The bottom line is 'yes', your driver's license can be revoked or suspended due to a medical condition. Whether you report it or you wait until an accident happens, the New York DMV has a unit that reviews and makes determinations whether a driver with a medical condition can keep their license. I hope that people who are aware of any medical condition that can cause them to lose control of their vehicle would be responsible enough to seek guidance from the DMV, prior to an accident happening.

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