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  1. #1

    Default Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    My question involves public health law in the State of: Wisconsin

    I work in a provider's office where occasionally patients pass out and get placed on driving restrictions. I am trying to find the law in Wisconsin that actually mandates this. The physicians tell patients that after passing out, you are on 3 months of no driving regardless, but 6 months if it happens while driving. A physician can sign an attestation that the issue has been diagnosed and treated to restore driving sooner than this. The physicians in question insist that it is a real state law that requires this and they don't just say that as a way to deflect anger from patients who have their driving suspended. What law/statute are they referring to, if any?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    While there doesn't appear to be a specific law (A statute that I could find) that requires what you speak of, there is administrative law that requires the physician to file with the DMV if they think the driver may have a condition that would make driving unsafe.

    https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/l...essionals.aspx

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    I work in a provider's office where occasionally patients pass out and get placed on driving restrictions. I am trying to find the law in Wisconsin that actually mandates this.
    Maybe this isn't what you intended (and the subject header of your post suggests that it isn't), but the first sentence says that the patients pass out at your office and, as a result, are put on "driving restrictions." No law in any state mandates driving restrictions just because a person passes out in his/her doctor's office. If you're talking about a patient passing out while driving, whether any sort of restriction or suspension issues will depend greatly on what happens as a result of the driver passing out.

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    The physicians tell patients that after passing out, you are on 3 months of no driving regardless, but 6 months if it happens while driving.
    So...the doctors you work for are purporting to tell their patients what the law is? Are any of these doctors also lawyers and, if not, how do they feel about lawyers purporting to diagnose medical issues?

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    The physicians in question insist that it is a real state law that requires this and they don't just say that as a way to deflect anger from patients who have their driving suspended. What law/statute are they referring to, if any?
    If I were you, I would ask these faux-lawyer doctors what exactly they're talking about.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    How is a doctor doing that not a HIPPA violation?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    It's HIPAA.

    Public safety exception.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    budwad and cbg gave what looks to be the relevant information regarding this issue. But based on pg1067's response, I will clarify to see if there is anything else to be added. I do admit that my original question was worded somewhat haphazardly, likely due to how familiar I am with the issue versus someone trying to read my summary. Here is the situation in a bit more detail.

    The patients aren't necessarily passing out while they are in the office. Our office has a syncope clinic, where patients who pass out (syncope) are evaluated to determine a cause. Patients who are just doing dishes and drop to the floor, patients who are at the wheel and pass out, you name it. And there are any number of causes for passing out, from vasovagal causes, things like dehydration and all the way to dangerous cardiac arrhythmia or heart pauses that could have been lethal if they didn't self-terminate. Whenever any patient is seen in the clinic for a syncopal episode, they are always advised to not drive for 3 months, or until such time a cause for passing out is identified and corrected. They don't have to pass out while driving to be suspended from driving, but if they do then the suspension is for 6 months and not 3. In order to be taken off driving restrictions, the doctor needs to file paperwork with the DMV. Some patients are quite upset when they are told they can't drive, and the doctors tell them that it's "state laws" that mandate these driving restrictions and not the doctor's own personal judgment. I thought they might be saying that just to redirect the patient's anger, since you can't really blame a doctor for allegedly following "state laws." Maybe those numbers are what the doctors think is reasonable, as it doesn't look like anything provided specifically mandates those time periods. And from the look of it, a doctor isn't legally forced to suspend someone's license over passing out, but it does seem like the right thing to do to protect other people on the road.

    The doctors aren't presenting themselves to be lawyers as they aren't offering legal advice or representing the patients. Someone who Googles symptoms and comes up with a possible diagnosis similarly is not presenting themselves as a physician. You don't have to be a lawyer to state what you honestly believe is a law, but you could certainly be wrong or doing someone a disservice depending on the situation. Plenty of people on this forum aren't lawyers, but post legal advice anyway, and aren't immediately written off as being faux-lawyers. It's always up to the recipient of information (the patient in this case) to verify the accuracy of the information before acting upon it. Based on the links provided, the doctors are actually stating they think someone who is passing out with no known cause is a danger behind the wheel, and taking steps that are well within their power as a medical provider to protect the public. Also based on those links, it looks like no timeframe is specified, so the 3 and 6 months may just be estimates on how long the doctors estimate it will take before they feel comfortable allowing them to drive.

    Feel free to add any additional thoughts if this clarified the situation. But I do think I have the answer I was looking for already.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2013
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    Not the question, but when you renew in CA, you have to sign a statement under penalties of perjury that you have not passed out (or done several other things or had several other conditions). The statement I read implied that we are not talking about an automatic revoked license, but rather a mandatory review. While they probably would talk to your doctor, I expect that there is more to it then that. Starting with why the person passed out and whether it is likely to re-occur. I expect that if someone was involuntarily drugged, that is probably not the same thing as a history of seizures.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Driving Restrictions Following Passing Out at the Wheel

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    It's HIPAA.

    Public safety exception.

    I know. Typed to fast. I'll read up on the exception.

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