Driving and Travel
Driver Information by State
Every state regulates driver's license eligibility of persons with certain medical conditions. The most common requirement for people with epilepsy is that they be seizure free for a specific period of time and submit a physician's evaluation of their ability to drive safely. Another common requirement is the periodic submission of medical reports, in some states for a specified period of time and in others for as long as the person remains licensed.
Select the state you want to find information about.
Are you moving and would like to compare two states' driving laws side by side? Choose the two states below to compare.
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Air Travel & Security Regulations
TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities
Please see the below links and press release regarding a new service from the TSA for travel.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical
conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787 2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”
Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.
When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.
TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. The agency works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. TSA holds quarterly meetings with this coalition to inform them about current training and screening procedures used in airports. TSA recently hosted a teleconference with members of these groups to announce the long-standing plans to implement TSA Cares for travelers and inform them of the upcoming launch.
All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website.
All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1 866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov
The United States Department of Transportation has information on their website to answer questions passengers with disabilities may have about the new security procedures. Find out more here. For more information about your rights as an air traveler with a disability, or to lodge a complaint, call 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY). You can also visit the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division website or visit the Federal Aviation Administration's website. For a question or complaint related to the airport security screening process, call the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Consumer Response Center at 1-877-336-4872, email or visit the TSA's website.
Can you drive an automobile if you have epilepsy? Yes, if your seizures are controlled with treatment and you meet the licensing requirements in your state. The most common requirement for people with epilepsy is that they are seizure-free for a specified period of time and submit a physician's evaluation of their ability to drive safely. Another common requirement is the periodic submission of medical reports, in some states for a specified period of time and in others for as long as the person remains licensed.
There has been a significant trend away from an across-the-board seizure-free period, and to a reduced period when one is required. While a number of states still require a one year seizure-free period, most of these will allow exceptions under which a license may be issued after a shorter period. Examples of possible appropriate exceptions include the following: a breakthrough seizure due to physician-directed medication change, an isolated seizure where the medical examination indicates that another episode appears unlikely, a seizure related to a temporary illness, a seizure due to an isolated incident of not taking medication, an established pattern of only nocturnal seizures, an established pattern of only seizures which do not impair driving ability, or an established pattern of an extended warning aura.
One feature which makes licensing easier for people who do not meet the state's main requirement is the availability of restricted licenses. Some states issue such licenses with restrictions such as daytime driving only, driving to and from work or within a certain distance from home, or driving only in an emergency. Once the state's regular licensing requirement is met, the restrictions are removed.
In most states medical information submitted by the applicant is reviewed by personnel within the motor vehicles department (or the state's equivalent department). Difficult cases are often referred to a consulting physician or the state Medical Advisory Board (MAB). Most states have such Boards which also handle appeals of decisions to deny or revoke licenses. Such decisions may be appealed, within a specified time period, by requesting an administrative hearing before the MAB or other designated body. When license revocation is involved, unless an imminent danger exists if the persons keeps driving, the action will usually be suspended pending the hearing decision. Every state allows for judicial review of the administrative decision. Requests for such review must be made within a designated time period.
Potential Liability of the Driver with Epilepsy
People who suffer from seizures have incurred civil or criminal liability as the result of seizure-related accidents. Such liability has occurred when individuals have driven against medical advice, without a valid license, without the state DMV being aware of their medical conditions, or with the knowledge that there was a particular reason why they should not be driving at that time.
To find out the laws of your state regarding driving with epilepsy, visit our Driving Laws by State database.
People with epilepsy may not be able to drive or may have restricted licenses, making it difficult getting to necessary places. Not driving may limit their ability to work, to get out in the community, or to get to appointments. Public transportation may help; however, it is not always accessible or appropriate. For people with frequent seizures, it may be dangerous to wait for regular bus services at busy intersections where they may encounter danger during a seizure.
Paratransit services are transportation services for people who cannot use the regular public transportation bus services. These services may pick people up at their homes or at specific locations. Paratransit services are available for people who meet one of the following requirements:
- You cannot get on, ride on, or get off a regular bus because of your disability even when the bus is accessible (that is, when it has a mechanical lift for a wheelchair or has some other adjustment for disability); or
- You have a disability and can't use the regular bus system; or
- Your impairment prevents you from traveling to or from a bus stop.
To find out about paratransit services, call the county transit authority where you live. When applying, people should specifically describe their disability or impairment in detail and explain why their condition prevents them from using the regular bus system. Notes from doctors may be helpful to support the information provided in the application.
Title III of the American's with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits public accommodations, such as the public transportation system, from discriminating against persons with disabilities. Under the ADA, a qualified person with a disability has the right to request a reasonable accommodation with the regular bus services. This may consist of the bus providing a seatbelt for someone with frequent seizures so they do not injure themselves during a seizure. If regular bus services do not meet individual needs, paratransit services may be available. If you are denied a reasonable accommodation or paratransit services, you may file an ADA complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Don't drive unless you have a valid license and are not having seizures.
- If you can't drive because of epilepsy, explore local "Dial a Ride" services and public transportation options.
- When riding a bicycle, wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
- When possible, stay on side roads or bike paths.
- Stand back from the road when waiting for a bus and from the platform edge when taking the subway or train.
- If you wander during a seizure, try to take a friend along when you travel.
- If subway or other escalators or stairs are unusually steep, consider using elevators instead.
- If you're going to be outside in extremely cold weather, go with a friend.