New drivers license - new heart disease form!!

On Friday, I had to renew my drivers license for another five year term. The clerk asked me the standard questions: "How tall are you? How much do you weigh? Has your license been suspended in the past five years?" - and then, suddenly: "Do you have any serious health conditions?"

It suddenly hit me that five years ago (last time I renewed my license) was pre-heart attack - so I'd never had to pause about answering that question ever before.

For a tiny second, I hesitated - imagining possible new restrictions on driving, and certainly more medical forms for my docs to complete (at $175 a pop!) - wouldn't it just be easier to say: "No!"

But I decided to face reality and replied: "Well, I HAVE had a heart attack...."

What had been an absolutely routine little transaction until that point, suddenly stopped while she left the counter to find the appropriate paperwork and resulting instructions for my doctors.

I later learned from her that having health warning information officially noted on on my drivers license means my insurance coverage will not be affected should I have another heart attack while driving, for example. Which makes me think that my insurance might have been affected if I had concealed this pre-existing condition.

Anybody have any experience with this scenario?

XOXOXO

www.myheartsisters.org

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12 replies. Join the discussion

OMG - I never thought about that question being asked for something like getting a drivers' license. I am not scheduled to get a new license in 2015, I wonder if that is a question that I will be asked and then have to answer YES.

I do know that any time I go to a new doctor I need to be sure to tell them I have a stent but never thought about having to tell people outside of the medical profession.

How are you feeling about it now?

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I'm in the U.S., and renewed my license last week and was not asked that.

However, I have been asked if I wish to be a donor, which I answer: "Yes, but they may not want my heart . . ." Kinda wonder now, too, since Dx of breast cancer.

I have recently had close friends diagnosed with brain cancer. Their doctors actually order restriction of their driving. I'm not sure if the doctors submitted something official or not.

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I had a heart attack 5 1/2 yrs ago but I haven't thought about my drivers licenses ..........what state do you live in ?? I live in Texas and don't think you have to change anything. You gave people alot to think about. God Bless ! Nannywiz

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I looked online at some states that had info for driver's license renewals. it seems the main question is whether you have any physical problems that would keep you from being a safe driver. so if your condition is stable and the doctor says you can drive, the answer would be "no".

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I live in Canada; in our province, we have to renew our drivers license every five years. Yes, it sure does makes sense that they'd want to know of any serious health conditions that may impact one's fitness to drive.

I was driving downtown the other day and looked over at the car in the next lane that had been weaving erratically - the elderly woman driving was using her asthma inhaler while still trying to keep one hand on the wheel and one eye on the highway. YIKES!!!! We have laws here banning cellphone use while driving - but I guess there's not one for using inhalers! Now there's a person who should NOT be behind the wheel!!!!

XOXOXO

www.myheartsisters.org

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I had to renew my license in March. I got my renewal through the mail and can either do by mail, e- mail or DMV. I was happily filling it out only to stumble on the last question." Do you or have you had any of the following since your last renewal?" 1- Heart ailment 2- loss of limb or body part 3- suffered seizures, convulsions etc.... If you answer yes to any of those 3 questions you have to call for further instructions. What do I do.. Tell or not tell? I brought it to my primary Drs attention. Never before did he hear of this on renewing.. Huh... He told me you don't want to lie... True but I want to continue to drive also. Well after hours on hold with DMV... I had to hang up. Went there in person and was told there is a form Dr has to fill out and sign. Back to cardiologist with form and of course now another checkup and payment. Bring back everything needed. Get my license in the mail and there isn't anything on there stating I have an ICD or heart issues. I was told should it "fire" i will loose driving for 3 months. If it "fires" twice in a period(6 mo or yr) then i lose it for a longer period. So i don't know if the truth was worth it! Lol
i live in NY by the way

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I had my license suspended in California for three months....syncope...I did not know at the time that it was heart related blockage. I never fully lost consciousness, but my doctor had to report it. I returned at end of my suspension to DMV for interview and had by then 4 stents, medication and CPAP as well as no incidents ...was told that that closed the file and I did not have to report that I had my license suspended. I did have to take a driving test, but now I renew by mail and questions are generic enough I don't report heart disease..tho I think might be questions about losing consciousness or seizures.

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I have been through many medical treatments and the only thing restricting me from driving was right after my Bypass and then and continuing when I am using pain relievers I am not suppose to drive. I have tried driving once by letting my dose wear off and we were heading to my sisters house for the Holidays and about halfway to the next City about 15 miles I started feeling light headed and dizzy so I immedialtey handed back over the wheel to my husband. I now have oxygen so I wonder if that wasn't an oxygen issue but I have been too afraid to try. There is such a scarey feeling when you are driving and you feel like you have lost control!!!! I have always been such a careful driver so just to experience that scared me half to death. My mom keeps encouraging me not to let my Liscense lapse and it isn't due for a while but I don't know being as I am considered disabled with all the other benefits if I would even be eligable to keep my liscense??? If I am too weak to walk too much into a building why would I be safe to drive my car long distances. Oh I have driven in town several times without issues so it could be just a long distance issue not sure...but I have driven about 3 times in town and did fine so I have no idea...I just remember that feeling driving towards the next City and it still scares me to death!!!!!

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I honestly didn't think about my driver's license after my heart attack and my doctors didn't mention anything about it, plus I was a year away from renewal. I had my HA last July and two stents. We bought a summer home and returned again to the north. We moved in Feb so we had to switch over our drivers licenses since this state was to be our primary residence. On the form was a question about health related conditions with heart attack listed. So I checked the box, I was sweating, I waited for what seemed an eternity to find out my fate. Would I loose my independence and not be able to drive? I began to think of what kind of 10 speed I would buy and getting a cart to tag behind so I could pedal the twelve mile round trip to the small town we lived near. Finally the clerk emerged from the shadows and handed me a form to take to my GP to fill out regarding my ability to drive and issued a temporary, which is standard procedure here. Everyone gets a paper temporary because the local DMV doesn't have the machine to make the new ones, My dr determined I was OK to drive, and sent it back to DMV. This entire procedure was another milestone to pass in my world of, "New Normal!"

Wow "S122851" California's laws are very through in making sure one is medically cleared to drive!

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I checked my file, the suspension was 6 not 3 months. When my syncope was first reported by my doctor, she called me at night to let me know she had to by law report me, (over the next months of tests, most of the other doctors felt she had jumped the gun a bit.) ...I was sent a form from the DMV for my doctor to give diagnosis supporting the suspension and giving me an opportunity to contest it...my appeal was denied. The six month suspension was full of tests, discovery, treatments. About 5 months in to it, I was sent notice from DMV to apply for license, the renewal was not automatic...it would require an interview and driver's test behind the wheel....I went to the interview with Doctor's release and the full details of my condition... most important, that I had not had another incident and was complient with ongoing Doctor's care. I was issued a temporary license to await the road test...several weeks later I walked out of DMV with permanent license.

At first it was devastating. I had to find rides to work, appts, errands, etc...nothing was in walking distance. I had to resign from work because my job performance was deteriorating, and the job which I had only had for a few months was just too stressful, though I had worked so hard to get it! I had to put my health first. All of this was humbling...to let people take care of me, ask for help....and it isolated me. In a way it has made me cautious about what I share or expose to insurance, other jobs, regulatory agencies...I find I want to thoroughly understand the potential repercussions. I would not put anyone in danger, but sometimes I hesitate.

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At my last renewal in Washington state, the only health question was whether there had been a loss of consciousness in the last six months. Years ago after my cardiac arrest, my doctor said I couldn't drive until I'd gone 6 months without fainting (which took 9 months), but he never turned me in to the DMV because he said it made it very difficult to get your license back. Although I have gone years now without fainting, I still don't drive on the freeway because of the possibility.

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I live in Illinois and heart condition is a question on renewal of a driver's license. I decided to follow my doctor's advice and not drive because I may hurt or kill other people if I am driving and another heart attack occurs and/ or my 2 dissected coronary arteries blow. I moved to an area of town where I can walk to the stores for items I need and have applied for a homemaker through OORS(DORS) but have been on a waiting list for 1 and a half years. I am fortunate to have people in the building where I live who will pickup items I need while they are shopping. Sometimes I go without--but that's okay-- because I am not risking others'lives by driving.
It is a personal decision each of us must make on our own and not an easy one. The only cure for my condition is a heart transplant but there are 4x the number of people who need a heart as there are hearts available. I am an organ donor if there is anything that can help another.
Thanks to all for sharing their struggles. There is hope on the horizon.

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