Thursday, December 14, 2006

One for the Road

A website was brought to my attention. It lists all the states and shows what limits of low vision (both acuity and visual fields) you can have before you really shouldn't be driving anymore, unless you can get it corrected. This is for the States. I don't know if there is one other countries. I imagine there's got to be some guidelines in every country.

I looked up Wisconsin and it states that your vision should be 20/40, with out without glasses. The visual field should be at least 70 degrees. Most states list over 100 degrees as the limit. I am shocked that I was even allowed to drive as long as I did.

My doctors never said anything. I am sure that they suspected that I was driving. I was alone when I went to see one of them. I admit did not see them regularly. I didn't really relish falling apart every time I went in there. I didn't like to hear that my dx (diagnosis) was RP (retinitis pigmentosa). There's no cure. All we can do it hope for one. I do know that I mentioned driving during the daytime to one doctor and he didn't say anything to me.

I probably shouldn't have been driving the past 10 years.

Moreover, it makes me wonder how many more visually impaired drivers out there aren't really supposed to be driving.

If anyone is illegally driving, and there's a serious accident, even fatal, it's lawsuit city if it comes out that you were driving with less than the state's requirement. Insurance would not help you. You would have to pay for damages and all the other hoopla that comes with it.

With the confidentiality and privacy laws the way they are, only in certain cases can doctors report things, such as communicable diseases or suspected child abuse, without the patient's authorization. Isn't this something that pertains to public safety, too?

I hope more people come to their senses and "hang up their keys" when they know that they are below the state's requirement for visual field and acuity.

Yes, it's very hard to give up the independence and freedom to hop behind the wheel any time you want or need to. I should know. I still hate it.

But the consquences just aren't worth it.


At Sun Dec 17, 04:21:00 PM , Blogger Sara said...

Hi Shari, I have been popping into your 3BT site but didn't realise that this one was your main blog. I loved your post on December 8th. Very true words. Thanks for reminding me about what's really important.


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